This NYC Startup Just Raised $4.5M to Spread Happiness with a Millennial Twist




Did you ever wish that the people who care for you did so in a more productive way? Instead of scolding you, they encouraged you to be yourself? Well now there is a company that is unabashedly empowering you to take steps to act within what actually works for you. With Greatist, the mission is to spread the mentality of sticking with what you love doing, because that is the way to true health.

CEO and cofounder Derek Flanzraich tells us about his path towards spreading his vision, as well as how he single handedly raised funding for the company.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

Greatist raised a $4.5M Series A round which was led by Floodgate Fund along with investors including Strauss Zelnick (ZelnickMedia), David Bach (FinishRich), Andy Russell (DailyCandy, Thrillist, PureWow), John Gardner (Learnvest), David Pecker (AMI), and Startup Health.

Tell us about your product or service.

Greatist is a rapidly expanding digital media startup changing the way millennials think about health and wellness.

What inspired you to start the company?

I grew up the biggest kid in the class (think 6 Dr. Peppers/day), surrounded by ideas on health and wellness that just made me feel worse instead of better (miracle pills, crash diets, and shows like “The Biggest Loser”). I was inspired to change the narrative around health into something that was more trustworthy, realistic, and encouraging.

How is it different?

Everything we do is brand-first and we try very hard not to waver from that vision. We’ll work with brands, we’ll appear on social networks – but everything we do has to be in our own authentic voice.

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

Greatist is primarily targeted towards 20-30 year olds actively working to improve, but we reach a wide, diverse audience through social media. We see anyone trying to get better on their own terms as a “Greatist.”

What’s your business model?

We’re profitable today primarily through brand partnerships, where we work with like-minded brands to activate health-conscious millennials through impactful marketing campaigns featuring our content, social, email, videos, events, and more.

How has the consumption of media changed among your readership with the advent of technology?  What have you seen since launch?

We’ve seen mobile adoption grow in a big way. Mobile and tablet together make up over 70% of our traffic.

What was the funding process like?

It’s a dream to find a partner so aligned with our vision like Floodgate.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

We had it better than most, but running a company as a solo founder is extra difficult when you’re fundraising at the same time.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

Ask them!

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We’re focused on audience development and revenue growth in a way that doesn’t compromise but actually improves brand trust. No easy feat!

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Make it work. It’s been a crazy journey over the past nearly five years, but we’ve made it work and even achieved profitability. Every business is different, but generating revenue is always the best way to fund your company’s growth.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

With this new capital, we’re primarily investing in growth on the creative, sales, and platform side.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

Pretty obsessed with Vanessa’s Dumplings. Because dumplings.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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