Virgin Pulse raises $92M for mobile-first employee wellness, engagement platform

By Brian Dolan
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Virgin PulseOne of the longest-running employee wellness platform companies, Virgin Pulse, announced its first outside investment, $92 million led by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners with participation from existing investor, Virgin Group. Virgin Pulse rebranded from Virgin HealthMiles in late 2013 and announced a new, broader focus on employee engagement, not just health.

A few weeks ago Virgin Pulse announced a revamped version of its employee engagement offering, which includes behavior change programs that cover physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The company is pitching "better quality of life" for employees and "higher productivity and performance" for the companies they work at. Its programs tackle everything from sleep, and stress management to relationship building, volunteerism, and financial management. Virgin Pulse looks to help HR departments drive engagement in any of their programs, not just step count competitions -- although, they support those too along with nutrition and mood tracking.

Insight Venture Partners gets two board seats as part of its investment, so its managing director Nikitas Koutoupes and VP Anika Agarwal will join Virgin Pulse's board. 

“Virgin has long held the belief that if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your business. Virgin Pulse is the perfect example of an organization that’s helping companies do precisely that,” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said in a statement. “We invested in this business as a start-up and see huge opportunities for continued global growth. With this new partnership with Insight Venture Partners, experts in investing in innovative technology companies, we look forward to seeing the Virgin Pulse team deliver even more game-changing solutions that make workforces across the world healthier, happier, and more productive.”

Insight has invested in a great number of companies in the past, but Virgin Pulse is, apparently, its first digital health portfolio company. Fast-growing company Zenefits, which provides HR software and services, is another Insight investment. It also might (someday) be the kind of company Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Boyce had in mind when he told Fortune's Dan Primack that Virgin Pulse probably won't IPO but would make sense as an eventual acquisition by a large company in the human capital space.

Boyce also told Fortune that Virgin Pulse now has about 250 enterprise customers that include about 2 million employees. He also positions the company as less insurer-focused than others and more focused on employers. The substantial round of funding may also enable Virgin Pulse to snap up some of its smaller competitors, too.

“With this investment...," Boyce said, "we plan to delve further into the scientific research that backs our habit-forming platform, hire new team members, and potentially make some acquisitions.”