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I’ve Been Investing In Wellness Companies For Years. These Are My Top Predictions For The Future Of The Industry

Winston Ibrahim

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We’re beginning to enter a golden age for health and wellness. 

With research and personal accounts of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle all over the internet, increased awareness of the health risks associated with poor diet, and new health-oriented social trends, we’ve seen growing global interest in health and wellness trends. 

Millennials, especially, are more health-conscious than prior generations. 

According to a recent study by Sanford Health, 53 percent of millennials—the “wellness generation”—consider health and wellness an important part of their lives. Only family, according to the study, is more important to millennials.

It’s not just millennials, though. In 2019, people in general are more willing than ever to spend discretionary income on their health and wellness, whether that means investing in a fitness tracker or switching to clean beauty products. And if a 6.4 percent growth rate in the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry between 2015-2017 is any indication, the trend isn’t going anywhere. As a result, we’ll see new markets, the expansion of existing ones, and increased innovation. 

Currently, health and wellness technology is moving beyond the early adoption phase and into the general consumer market. As this occurs, we need to take steps to ensure that these beneficial technologies are accessible to everyone. 

As an avid investor in this space, here’s what I foresee unfolding: 

The typical early adopters will lead the way. 

Two types of people are typically the first to jump on health and wellness trends and tech: high-performance entrepreneurs and executives, and those with past or current health issues. 

For CEOs, founders, venture capitalists, and other business-world titans, walking into the office each and every day as the best version of yourself—in body and mind—is invaluable. Business is a competition, after all, and only the best survive. In this environment, even a slight competitive edge is one of high value. A game-changing new nootropic emerges? It’s all over Silicon Valley, instantly. 

The other primary early adoption group is those who are dealing with or have dealt with a serious health scare. People in this boat are constantly searching for new, better solutions to their existing ailments, whether preventative or remedial. 

Unfortunately, a number of obstacles stand in the way of the proliferation and adoption of these technologies. 

To name a few: 

  • These technologies are still very new, which means they require publicity in order to succeed—and doctors and scientists aren’t necessarily the best marketers.
  • People can be skeptical about new health and wellness trends, products and technologies. Many assume it’s all snake oil. 
  • Because they’re so new and often complex, these technologies are generally quite expensive. That makes for a limited market, at least at first.
  • All things medical require extensive government oversight and regulation. Rightfully so—we don’t want fly-by-night operators or another Theranos. Unfortunately, however, the solution to any potential risk is often a total ban. While tedious, we need a case-by-case regulatory approach to avoid one bad egg spoiling an entire market. 

As these products are proven viable and effective and consumer demand increases, we may reach a point where regulation is the only issue standing in the way of scaling these businesses

Because ultimately, the consumer demand is there, and it’s only going to increase. 

Today, more and more people want to stave off the advance of aging and be as healthy and physically optimized as they can be. 

Strict regulations and bans are not the solution. That’s like squeezing a balloon. The air inside—the market demand—doesn’t just disappear if you push it away. It goes elsewhere. 

If the U.S. government restricts regenerative stem cell therapy, for example, people will go elsewhere to receive such treatments. In fact, these types of clinics are already popping up in China, Germany, Japan, and Latin America, ready to serve Americans who want treatments they can’t get back home.     

In this sense, all regulation really accomplishes is limiting access for people of more modest means. Because then, only elite, high-net-worth VIP clients are able to travel to take advantage of these products and technologies. And that’s extremely unfortunate. Because if these technologies have the potential to make a positive impact on people’s health and lives, we want them to be available and accessible to as many people as we possibly can. 

At the end of the day, scale is the only way to make these products and businesses work. 

That’s how our version of capitalism is set up.

If you’re a doctor and you’ve invested years of your life to create powerful regenerative technology, how do you get the most value out of your creation? By incrementally selling it to more and more billionaires, or by making it affordable to the general public? 

So the question is: How do we accelerate this?

The answer: By showing people first-hand that this technology is legitimate and can help them, their friends, and their family. 

No matter how skeptical you are of new treatment methods and health tech, when you’re faced with a life-threatening health problem, you become willing to try almost anything. And virtually everyone will face a serious health issue in their life. 

My own father was, for a long time, reluctant to visit the doctor. It wasn’t an issue of accessibility—just stubbornness. Until the day he received a difficult, scary diagnosis, at least. Within four hours, I had him in a clinic receiving a series of advanced blood tests. 

Within a week, he completely changed his diet and was constantly researching how he could make efforts to fight his health issues. When he began experiencing some nasty side effects to his treatments, he immediately called up his doctor, who recommended mitigative ozone therapy. My dad jumped on it right away. That reaction was a far cry from him telling me, “Whatever, don’t even tell me about this stuff,” when I’d bring up innovative new health advancements prior to his diagnosis. 

Our COO at Hydros, the modern water filtration company I co-founded, was a runner—up until recently when a meniscus tear from decades earlier that never healed properly began causing him extreme pain. Twenty minutes after receiving a BioReset Medical knee injection, he was running again, pain-free.  

People will realize the benefit of these treatments and technologies, whether first-hand, through a loved one’s positive experience, or simply through a story about a friend of a friend. First gradually, then quickly, the narrative will shift in favor of these innovations. Because sooner or later, healthcare innovations—through saving and bettering lives—win everybody over. 

I am the founder and CEO of Hydros, an innovative water filtration startup with proprietary technology that works at five times the speed of standard home filtration systems. We strive to create beautiful, convenient, and competitively priced portable and home filtration products to reduce the consumption of single-use disposable plastic bottles.

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