Sunnyside, a digital health company focused on helping users reduce their alcohol use, has raised $11.5 million in Series A funding.
Motley Fool Ventures led the round with participation from Will Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to roughly $14.6 million.
Sunnyside designed a platform to help users manage their alcohol use. It doesn’t use an abstinence model. Instead, it helps people track and monitor their habits and drink in moderation.
Sunnyside CEO Nick Allen noted that there is often a false binary where people are either categorized as problem drinkers, where sobriety is the only path forward, or non-problem drinkers, where they can continue drinking with no health impact.
“But we now know that’s not true. Alcohol use disorder, broadly, is a spectrum condition. We know there are varying degrees of alcohol dependence, and we also know that the longer that we wait to get treatment, the harder it becomes for us to put ourselves on a path to recovery truly,” Allen told Behavioral Health Business. “At Sunnyside, we are building an alternative pathway for folks who are interested in making a change to their drinking habits, and yet who are not yet open or interested in the idea of completed sobriety.”
Instead, the platform aims to help users achieve moderation. The company uses a subscription model, which costs $99 a year.
The platform first asks users about their goals, which could be anything from cutting back on drinking-related calories, saving money, or avoiding hangovers. Users also answer questions about their drinking habits.
It then builds a plan using behavior modification strategies, including SMS-based nudges. It also has a member community and one-on-one peer coaching and support. Members can track their drinking, alcohol calories and money saved on alcohol.
“We’re working to make managing alcohol consumption as common and socially accepted as managing diet, exercise and mindfulness as components of our proactive wellness,” Allen said.
The company plans to use the new funds to build its brand and invest in marketing to spread awareness about the platform. Additionally, it will invest in its product development.
The funding announcement coincides with the news that Sunnyside named Strava-vet Steve Lloyd as its new chief product and technology officer, making him the first non-founder C-suite hire for the company.
Sunnyside isn’t the only digital health company looking to address substance use disorders. For example, Pelago, formerly Quit Genius, offers self-administered digital service and telehealth offerings targeted at treating alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder and tobacco use disorder. The startup has raked in $78.6 million in funding.
Additionally, virtual SUD provider Affect Therapeutics landed $16 million in Series A funding in July, and digital addiction treatment provider Kyros raised $10.5 million in August.