Wellnicity gets $3.6M for mail-order lab tests, vitamins

By Jonah Comstock

Wellnicity, an Austin-based company that uses mail-order lab tests to connect people with vitamins and supplements to address particular symptoms, has raised $3.6 million in a new round of funding led by Capstar Partners.

"Wellnicity's story began because there were many families who chose not to do medications, or they had failed medication therapies. These clients suffered from sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and focus," founder and Chief Science Officer Pam Machemehl Helmly said in a statement. "Through neurotransmitter testing, we could see when the levels were imbalanced and we could create a customized supplemental and dietary solution to bring levels back into optimal ranges. There was a profound effect on patients' health and well-being.”

To use the product, customers first take a free online test, at which point Wellnicity recommends a testing kit that ranges from $29 to $299. When the test arrives in the mail, the user sends back some combination of saliva, stool, urine, and blood samples which Wellnicity then sends to a certified third party lab for analysis. The company then uses that data to put together a recommended set of vitamins and supplements, which the company will mail in shipments containing four weeks of supplies. Customers can also bypass the lab tests and order supplements of their choosing from Wellnicity.

While the company is careful to advertise that it offers wellness products, not FDA-cleared health or healthcare products, it does list several medical conditions, including ADHD, depression, and irritable bowel disease, on the list of symptoms the company can help address.

According to the company, the testing and recommendations are rooted in science.

“Wellnicity is where clinical science meets personalized wellness and convenience," CEO Kerry Brooks said in a statement. "Wellnicity grabbed hold of the idea that if more people had access to information about what was going on in their own bodies, we could help them achieve their optimal health through customized vitamin regimens — and we tackled it." 

At least one test that the service offers, an immunoglobulin G test for food sensitivity, may not be reliable. As STAT News reported today in a piece on competitor Everlywell, most doctors and professional organizations say the test does nothing and could even be harmful, insofar as it might encourage people to cut healthy foods out of their diet.