Over a decade after birthing one of the Internet’s most popular and wide-reaching news outlets, Arianna Huffington is looking to try her hands at a new venture.
Bloomberg reports Huffington is preparing to launch a new company known as Thrive. The startup will focus on health and wellness, and will derive the majority of its content from celebrity contributors and bloggers. It will also look to provide other companies with consultation services and educational workshops and employee well-being.
According to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, Huffington is considering various business models for the startup, including advertising and conferences, as well as a possible subscription-based program for companies. One source said that Thrive will look to “arrange classes for corporate clients to improve their employees’ well-being and productivity, while helping them retain talent.”
Huffington has enjoyed enormous success from her left-leaning media company, The Huffington Post. The brand was sold to AOL in 2011 for $315 million, though Huffington has remained president and editor-in-chief.
Sources said Verizon Communications Inc., who acquired AOL in 2011, has granted Huffington permission to launch Thrive while maintaining her title at the Huffington Post. Huffington has stated that the new company will be run by a separate management team, and will not distract from her current role at the Post.
In a staff memo obtained by Business Insider, Huffington stated that Thrive is “not a media venture. The goal will be to provide workshops, e-courses and certification programs to companies around the world. The workshops will be tailored for businesses to drive organizational success, built on the latest scientific findings which prove that the health and well-being of employees and the health of the bottom line are strongly connected.”
The startup is inspired by Huffington’s 2014 published title, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder,” as well as its follow-up, “The Sleep Revolution.” In the books, Huffington stresses the importance of balancing work with rest and the essential enjoyments that life has to offer. She also seeks to redefine the meaning of success in today’s society.
The importance that Huffington places on employee health and recuperation is such that she helped introduced “nap rooms” to the work offices at The Huffington Post and AOL and has even offered her own bed for resting as a part of an Airbnb contest.
“There is this kind of founder myth that if you are a founder you can’t afford to get enough sleep,” said Huffington in an interview with TechCrunch. “The truth is three-quarters of startups fail and if founders got more sleep they’d have a better chance of succeeding.”
Thrive will be backed by venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, whose managing director Ken Lerer co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005. Lerer is also a co-founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group and has invested in successful companies such as Warby Parker and Buzzfeed Inc.
Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Lerer Hippeau was heavily interested in “software-as-a-service companies,” particularly those focused on HR and health-care. Half of the firm’s investments are devoted to such ventures.
Jack Ma, co-founder of the Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba, has also agreed to invest in Huffington’s startup. His e-commerce site surpassed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer earlier this year.
Thrive is set to launch within a few months.