- Proper, a telehealth startup that offers sleep supplements and wellness coaching, recently announced $9.5 million in funding from Casa Verde with participation from Redesign Health.
- Cofounder and first-time CEO Nancy Ramamurthi told Business Insider that she started the company 6 months ago and ended up closing the funding round in even less time.
- The company, which has just 7 employees, is entirely remote with no plans to head into the office any time soon, Ramamurthi said.
- Proper will have to stand out from other solutions that claim to address sleep issues right now, as more Americans are struggling with problematic sleep habits and anxiety-induced insomnia during the pandemic, but Ramamurthi said she's hopeful that her company's two-tiered approach will help differentiate it from other solutions.
- See the pitch deck that Ramamurthi used to raise $9.5 million as a first-time CEO.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Americans can't sleep during the coronavirus pandemic and all the anxieties it has unleashed, but a new startup is trying to offer a solution that's better than snake-oil supplements and mythical remedies.
Proper is a 6-month-old startup with roots in telehealth and a first-time CEO with decades of experience in the tech industry. It combines personalized supplement regimens with nationally-certified wellness coaches who specialize in sleep behavior therapy.
CEO and cofounder Nancy Ramamurthi said the two-tiered approach helps distinguish it from its competitors.
"My observation of the supplement space was that you have medications, you have over-the-counter solutions, and they all have negative side effects. Even natural supplements were really just melatonin and sugar in a gummy," Ramamurthi told Business Insider. "There was an opportunity to give the American consumer an option that was better and backed by science."
Ramamurthi's background is that of a tech executive, although she leans heavily on a group of trusted advisors and experts, in addition to her 7-person team, to develop Proper's formulas and vet the science during product development. She began her career in service to the United States as a captain in the Army, however, and she says her dedication to purpose was behind her desire to solve a problem that afflicted many Americans prior to the pandemic, and does even more so now that the coronavirus has engulfed the country.
"I had my own sleep issues but I really wanted to go after a massive problem," Ramamurthi said. "Then I realized, everyone sleeps. Sleep is super-individual, and sleep science is still very new. I could do something that had a massive impact on people."
Recently, Proper announced that it raised $9.5 million in funding from Casa Verde and Redesign Health. All told, the round took less than 6 months to come together, and while Ramamurthi had yet to sit down in the same room with her cofounder due to the pandemic. The company has been remote almost its entire existence, and Ramamurthi doesn't expect that to change once business resumes a new normal.
"I hired our Chief Product Officer, my cofounder, and I've never met him in person," Ramamurthi said. "We were joking that we don't even know how tall he is."
Ramamurthi had seen the fundraising process mainly from the outer rings while she worked at various technology companies, but she said still had a lot to learn as a first-time CEO. She had more than an idea on the back of a napkin, she said, but finding investors aligned with her company's mission was still a challenge.
"I was connected to Redesign and Casa Verde at a good stage, so it hasn't been as hard for me as it has been for other new CEOs," Ramamurthi said. "It was really about quickly taking these concepts that we had in hand and building the business, and I did this through COVID in 6 months."
See the pitch deck first-time CEO Nancy Ramamurthi used to raise $9.5 million for her telehealth startup Proper in less than 6 months.
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