Wellbeing platform targets US market from Scotland

Kitching said the global market for functional beverages is 'exploding'. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
Kitching said the global market for functional beverages is 'exploding'. Picture: Stewart Attwood.
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A Scottish entrepreneur is set to launch a wellbeing ­platform, harnessing the expertise of executives who have worked for FanDuel, Asos and Starbucks, and with a £1 million seed funding round in hand.

Jon-Paul Kitching, who founded music and lifestyle media brand Clash and creative agency Public Worldwide, is behind Alyke – described as a “people-powered healthcare and wellbeing technology platform, dedicated to simplifying consumer wellness”.

It is targeting the US, the largest wellbeing market globally, from a Scottish base. And it will focus on personalised digital healthcare and lifestyle branded products, initially vitamin-rich drinks delivered direct to consumers.

Alyke plans to develop ­additional products over time and locate a small “but highly experienced” marketing team in the US supported by a ­Scottish headquarters.

The venture’s advisors include FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles; former Starbucks director of food for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Kate Skeritt; and former Amazon UK managing director and Asos chairman Brian McBride.

A £1m seed funding round is now in process, with Alyke speaking to investors in the UK around investment to fund accelerated product development, maintain first-mover advantage, and support the marketing and user experience functions.

Kitching, chief executive and co-founder of Alyke, said the global market for functional beverages is “exploding” due to a new generation of health-conscious consumers who are seeking a more personalised experience, and he sees huge opportunity to disrupt growth segments of the industry. “We feel passionate about building a base from Scotland with access to a high quality talent pool, fantastic universities and government support.”

Alyke centres around a subscription model that allows consumers to develop their own unique blends of functional flavoured beverages, sourced from ingredients shipped directly. The community-led proposition will also give committed subscribers and brand advocates the opportunity to become stakeholders in the business.

Kitching added: “Consumer needs have diversified, they look for committed brands that deliver authentic products, relevant health benefits, nutritional value and transparency. We are in one of the fastest-growing segments of the market and although there are similar propositions, no one is doing what we are doing.

“There is a huge appetite from investors for online wellness boutiques that seek to bypass traditional retail channels in favour of more agile propositions for an increasingly digital generation.”

McBride said: “Real-time customised adaptability and making a personal connection between brand and customer is crucial for any new consumer brand and Jon-Paul and the Alyke team are in tune with how this space is going to play out. We think there is a major opportunity for a people-powered healthcare and wellbeing platform.”

Alyke co-founder and chairman Andy Bottomley commented on the £1m seed round, saying it “helps us to build out the back office function, recruit key personnel and be in position to launch a fully scalable platform from launch in the first half of 2019”.