NEW YORK, United States — Weight loss company Noom, group fitness operator Orangetheory Fitness and CBD brand NuLeaf Naturals are just some of the pioneering wellness brands that have made the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for 2020.
Produced since 1982, the renowned list is an annual spotlight on the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States, ranked according to percentage revenue growth across the previous three year period from 2016 to 2019.
While tech-minded healthcare companies have made considerable gains, totalling 123 entries up from 61 as highlighted by MobiHealthNews in 2019, a roster of fitness franchises under the banner of Xponential Fitness has also muscled in on the 2020 list.
Xponential Fitness’ StretchLab (#363), Club Pilates (#1050), Row House (#1158) and CycleBar (#2166) all boast impressive growth over the past three years, while sector leader Orangetheory Fitness (#1,056) made the list for the seventh consecutive year.
CBD-centric companies — from those selling hemp oil for human and pet consumption to businesses set up to vet the industry — also feature heavily, with NuLeaf Naturals (#16) reporting meteoric three-year growth of 11,495%.
Meanwhile, Noom (#45), the 2008-founded behaviour-driven weight loss specialists, continue to disrupt the healthcare sector, climbing from #212 in 2019 to the top 50 for the first time.
Noom CEO and co-founder Saeju Jeong believes the advancement of digital wellness solutions, coupled with the industry’s ability to tap into the fundamental human desire “to feel good”, is driving this impressive performance of wellness companies on the Inc. 5000 2020 list.
“Digital wellness is a trend that has been growing for many years now, so it’s not surprising to see a number of businesses in the space perform strongly,” Jeong told Welltodo.
“Companies like Noom are also able to tap into a fundamental human desire: to feel good. We’ve seen a significant cultural shift that places increased importance on longevity and health. Technological advances mean that more companies can leverage digital tools to help their users live better, healthier lives. We anticipate that it will only continue.”
Jeong expects these trends will continue to drive growth across the sector, even in the wake of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. “COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the importance of preventative health,” he said.
“More than ever, people are focusing on being the healthiest they can be. This increased focus on health is evident by the 42% uptick in new subscribers we’ve seen since March. I expect people will continue to explore new ways to keep their bodies and minds healthy.”
LEARN, OPTIMISE AND GROW
Jeong credits his companies’ Inc. 5000 success to “a complete dedication to our mission of helping everyone live healthier lives through behaviour change”, as well as “an investment in building a strong company culture” optimised for fast learning.
“Our process is scientific, but not slow. We talk to experts, do research, then experiment to verify hypotheses quickly and objectively,” he said. “This way of working is ingrained in all teams at Noom and it allows us to constantly learn, optimise and grow.”
Jeong does, however, admit that the Noom community of more than 2,000 coaches have been faced with immense challenges over the past few months in adapting to remote working and dealing with the increased stress of living and working under a global pandemic.
“Right now, many people are placing a greater focus on stress management, better sleep, how to work in exercise on busy days or just navigating how to balance everything in this new environment,” he said. “We also faced the challenge of navigating a new approach to working entirely remotely.”
To help make the transition smoother, Noom HQ employees were given resources to set up home offices, and a WFH food budget in place of the company’s usual in-office, chef-cooked meals. The company also provided laptops for their employees’ partners who were also working from home, and stipends for virtual meetups to ensure teams stayed connected.
“Noom provides the opportunity to focus on building healthy habits for the long-term, and today we, and our thousands of Noom coaches, are even more acutely aware that everyone has unique goals and needs,” Jeong added.
Beyond the strong performing wellness companies, this year’s Inc. 5000 as a whole reflects staggering growth for America’s private sector when compared with past lists. The average three-year growth for the full list reached an impressive 500% and a median rate of 165%.
However, given the 2020 list was ranked based on 2016 to 2019, the outbreak of COVID-19 and sledgehammer blow it has delivered to economies around the world will undoubtedly take a big dent out of the 2021 Inc. 5000 list.
Nevertheless, Jeong believes from this adversity, creative businesses will emerge. “In the midst of the pandemic, it’s difficult to say the impact it will have even a couple of months from now. What is clear is that this is an incredibly stressful, fraught time for many people around the globe.”
He added: “We are seeing many people turn to Noom as a way to help them manage their health and stress. We also imagine there will be new, creative businesses to meet evolving consumer needs as we navigate social distancing, remote work, and other new challenges.
“Over the next 12 months, we will continue to focus on the thing that matters most: supporting our community and our members in building sustainable, healthy habits. We’re excited to continue to find ways to make an impact where it is needed most.“
INC. 5000 2020 WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT
#16 NuLeaf Naturals: Offers organic hemp oil extracts to all 50 states and more than four countries. CBD oil extracts are sold for both human and pet consumption.
Based in Denver, Colorado
Company size: 51-200 employees
3-year growth: 11,495%
Year change: Down from #11 in 2019
Historical high: #11 (2019)
#45 Noom: A behaviour change company, disrupting the weight loss and health care industries.
Based in New York
Company size: 1,001-5,000 employees
3-year growth: 6,355%
Year change: Up from #212 in 2019
Historical high: #45 (2020)
#63 Outer Aisle: California-based maker of cauliflower pizza crusts and sandwich thins. Founded: 2015
Based in California
Company size: 51-200 employees
3-year growth: 5,006%
Year change: Debut
Historical high: #62 (2020)
#133 Brickell Men’s Products: Sells premium grooming and skincare products marketed to men, including natural and organically sourced shaving products and anti-aging creams.
Based in Portland, Maine
Company size: 11-50 employees
3-year growth: 2,775%
Year change: Down from #76 in 2019
Historical high: #76 (2019)
#1,056 Orangetheory Fitness: Iconic group exercise franchise, with more than 1,000 studios around the world.
Based in Florida
Company size: 201-500 employees
3-year growth: 440%
Year change: Up from #1,830 in 2019
Historical high: #60 (2016)