Virgin Pulse acquires two employee wellness companies: ShapeUp and Global Corporate Challenge

By Aditi Pai

Framingham, Massachusetts-based employee wellness and engagement company Virgin Pulse has acquired two employee wellness companies: Providence, Rhode Island-based ShapeUp and Australia-based Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).

Just last year, in May, Virgin Pulse, announced a big funding round, $92 million led by venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners with participation from parent company, Virgin Group. Virgin Pulse rebranded from Virgin HealthMiles in late 2013 and announced a new, broader focus on employee engagement, not just health.

"We couldn't be more excited to welcome ShapeUp and GCC into the Virgin Pulse family," Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Boyce said in a statement. "In addition to bringing together the experience, strengths and momentum of three proven industry leaders, joining our organizations allows us to present an exciting and compelling opportunity to our collective customers and the firepower to aggressively expand into new geographies and markets."

ShapeUp has developed a social wellness program for companies and engages employees through team workout challenges. The company, which has been in operation for about 10 years, raised at least $15.5 million to date. The program also tracks team progress to encourage better habits, offers health coaching in nutrition and exercise, and pulls in data from various consumer fitness devices. Existing investors include Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management. 

GCC, which has been in operation for about 11 years, also creates challenges for employees, but on a much grander scale. For a period of 100 days each year, employees of any GCC customer around the world can compete in GCC challenges in teams of seven. For the rest of the year, employees can use GCC’s online platform for additional motivation and health education. The company’s program has reached nearly 2 million employees and 4,700 organizations across 185 countries, according to GCC’s website.

ShapeUp CEO Rajiv Kumar MD will take the role of Chief Medical Officer for the Virgin Pulse Institute, where he'll lead the analytics team. GCC CEO Tom Sermon will serve as president of Virgin Pulse International and will drive Virgin Pulse's global expansion.