Walking on Earth secures £3 million Seed investment led by Octopus Ventures

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BenevolentAI leader launches science-based platform to alleviate workplace stress

  • Walking on Earth comes out of stealth with £3 million funding, led by Octopus Ventures (Cazoo, Depop, Graze), with support from Arianna Huffington and Brent Hoberman
  • Reeva Misra, former VP of strategy at BenevolentAI aims to create a new model for high growth companies
  • The start-up emerged during the lockdown to develop a science-based platform for alleviating workplace stress, bringing together world leading practitioners and scientists to offer tailor made stress reduction programmes to companies

London, 26th July 2021 – Walking on Earth today announces it is coming out of stealth to tackle the rising issue of workplace stress exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and remote working. The digital platform has closed a £3 million seed funding round led by Octopus Ventures, which supported success stories such as Cazoo, Depop and Graze. Walking on Earth benefits from further backing from renowned UK founders including Harry Hurst, CEO and co-founder of $2bn valued fintech scale up Pipe; Mandeep Singh, Co-Founder of Trouva; Tania Boler, CEO and Founder of Elvie; Dr. Jean Nehme, Co-Founder of Digital Surgery; and Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder of Builder.ai. Its advisory board includes Arianna Huffington and serial entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, who is behind the successes of Lastminute.com and Made.com.

The company is led by CEO and founder Reeva Misra, former VP of Strategy at BenevolentAI and certified Jivamukti yoga teacher. Combining her expertise in tech enabled healthcare with spiritual practices, Reeva created Walking on Earth to help hybrid workers manage their stress following a surge in awareness of the impact of chronic stress on physical and mental health.

Seven in 10 employees admit that COVID has been the most stressful time in their career. Work related stress and anxiety is the leading cause of poor health in the UK, representing 57% of lost working days every year[1]. Despite this, most companies lack a clear strategy to support their employees during trying times.

The pandemic has also accelerated the move to online consultations for mental and physical health and led practitioners to develop new ways of supporting individuals. Capitalising on this new appetite for digital wellness and healthcare, Walking on Earth offers personalised, digital lifestyle plans tailored to the individual to reduce stress and increase wellbeing.

Walking on Earth uses a three-step model to create an experience tailored to each user’s needs, preferences and lifestyle:

  1. Determine the individual’s stress levels through a tech-based assessment
  2. Pair the individual to certified experts in health and wellbeing
  3. Create a tailored stress reduction programme involving a combination of live group classes, 1-to-1 sessions, curated talks and science-backed content for self-learning

According to Reeva, the market is ready to put employees’ health first:

“We live in a society that’s created an unsustainable pattern of living where workplace culture is synonymous with burnout and stress is seen as a necessary by-product of success. The past 18 months have put a much-needed spotlight on the terrible impact of stress on our health, and for the first time, employers are taking notice.”

She continued:

“We’re moving towards a society where the majority of diseases are chronic, untreatable with modern medicine, and can only be prevented by changing our lifestyle habits. Growing up with Indian parents seeped in ancient holistic health practices and balancing that with my type A, scientifically grounded career, I knew we had to bring science, technology and holistic health together. We’ve all witnessed the power of technology to advance all aspects of our life, and I believe we shouldn’t be leaving the most important element behind: our health. We all deserve to live healthy lives, and that’s why today I’m proud Walking on Earth is coming out of stealth to enable such an ideal to manifest.”

During its beta phase, Walking on Earth generated high levels of engagement and improvements in individual employee wellbeing & stress reduction, resulting in full-time contracts from all companies involved in the pilot.

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Investor quotes:

Rebecca Hunt, VC investor at Octopus Ventures, who led the funding round for Walking on Earth: 

“The COVID pandemic has put preventative health in the spotlight: with remote working and no work-life boundaries, mental and physical health has taken a toll. Companies are faced with employee burnout on a scale we’ve never seen before and are HR leaders are under immense pressure to respond. Walking on Earth brings their expertise to companies and works with them to redefine and deliver their wellbeing framework. That makes it an invaluable offering for companies looking to place wellbeing at their core and we are proud to have led Walking on Earth’s seed funding round to tackle this huge need.”

Harry Hurst, founder and CEO of Pipe, and investor in Walking on Earth: 

“There’s no doubt that health is more crucial than ever, and it needs to be prioritised in hybrid working environments. Taking on leadership positions at high growth companies, I know first-hand how work pressure can impact people’s physical and mental health. Walking on Earth aims to address a critical priority for any business who puts their employees first, and I’m looking forward to seeing the company grow.”

Advisor quotes:

Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global: 

“Achieving a sustainable planet must go hand in hand with living sustainable lives. Otherwise, burned out people will keep burning up the planet. Walking on Earth has a critical role to play in helping people prioritize their well-being, which is the foundation of creating a sustainable world.”

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, Made.com and Founders Forum: 

“We’re on the cusp of a new era of business, one where purpose comes first. The best employers are looking now more than ever for world class solutions to attract and retain talent. Walking on Earth gives them the tools to stand out and deliver for their teams.  This stellar capital raise adds further momentum to enable them to lead in this nascent market.”

– ends –

About Walking on Earth:

Walking on Earth is the first science-based platform to manage stress. We draw on ancient wisdom and modern science, learning from the world’s leading experts, to guide people with the knowledge, skills and tools to mitigate stress. We know that half the challenge lies in transforming knowledge into action so we use deep science to help individuals translate their learnings into habits. With the reduction of stress and its associated conditions, we are elevating human happiness. For more information about Walking on Earth, please visit https://www.walkingonearth.com/. To download the Walking on Earth app, please visit The AppStore or Google Play

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Safiya Marzook

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