Aescape, a technology company building fully-automated, data-driven massage therapy experiences, today announced its $30 million Series A funding round led by Valor Siren Ventures and Valor Equity Partners, an early investor in Tesla and SpaceX, with participation from new investors including Fifth Wall and Alley Robotics Ventures, and from existing investors including Crosslink Capital, Alumni Ventures, and NBA Champion and All-Star Kevin Love.
Aescape is redefining the massage and wellness category through intelligent technology that helps people to feel and live better longer. With this Series A funding, the company will enhance its AI-powered technology and bring The Aescape Experience to the U.S. market in 2023. After a seismic shift in the industry, the company created The Aescape Experience to help fill the widening labor shortage and booming demand for massage therapy. Upon launch, The Aescape Experience is anticipated to transform the massage experience for hospitality, wellness and fitness industries, in addition to providing intuitive solutions and services for the $17.6B US massage therapy industry.
“Our team at Aescape is working to bring beautifully-designed, fully-automated, therapeutic massage and wellness experiences to market with a solution that combines innovative research, revolutionary technology, and a holistic approach to physical wellness and recovery,”said Eric Litman, Founder and CEO at Aescape. “This funding means that our partners are not only investing in our shared vision and world-class team, but also in the future of the wellness industry overall. We’re grateful to our investors for believing in our dream, and we look forward to launching The Aescape Experience in 2023.”
As the pool of available therapists continues to shrink and healthcare services drives toward greater measurability, the hospitality, wellness, and athletic markets need new solutions to structural, industry-wide challenges. Recent research from iSPA, the International Spa Association, shows that the U.S. massage therapy industry is experiencing revenue loss of up to $4bn annually due to a shortage of more than 29,000 therapists, with 82% of resort/hotel spas and 71% of day spas reporting staff shortages. Aescape aims to solve this and help grow the industry by providing operators with a scalable, reliable solution that augments the labor shortage, acts as a support tool for massage therapists and athletic trainers, and gives consumers a consistent, beautiful, data driven approach to recovery.
“We believe there is a significant opportunity to modernize the category of physical recovery, and Aescape’s pioneering approach to treatment, user experience, and safety should have a considerable role to play in the transformation of the industry,” said Jon Shulkin, Co-President of Valor Equity Partners and Fund Manager for Valor Siren Ventures. “We’re grateful to partner with Eric and the Aescape team to create the new gold standard for soft tissue therapy.”
The company’s all-star team includes senior leadership from Amazon, Bird, FitBit, Peloton, The New York Knicks, Tonal, Meta, Uber, WPP, and others. Aescape is seeing strong partnership traction with category pioneers and global leaders across a wide range of categories and has signed 17 partners who will be the first to launch The Aescape Experience at their locations.
“Aescape is on the forefront of consumer innovation, providing a fully-automated massage table that not only solves for the industry’s immense labor gap, but fundamentally enables a more advanced and accessible experience,” shared Kevin Campos, Partner at Fifth Wall. “The application of their deep proprietary technology can span the built world from an employee perk boasted in office spaces, an essential health benefit offered in medical offices to an amenity provided in hotel spas and beyond. Our extensive limited partner network is comprised of the world’s largest corporates across the real estate value chain, who will undoubtedly not only benefit from, but also provide value to Aescape’s deployment.”
This funding brings Aescape’s total funding to date to $47.5M. Previous investors include AlleyCorp Robotics Ventures, FJLabs, Gaingels, Spacecadet, Silicon Valley Bank, Pete Wurman, founder of Kiva Systems/Amazon Robotics, Javon Bea, CEO of Trinity Health, Tom Lee, founder of OneMedical, David Karp, founder of Tumblr, Mark Gorton, founder & CEO of Tower Research, Eric Newnham, founder of Talon Outdoor, Neil Parikh, co-founder of Casper, Yony Feng, co-founder of Peloton, Lachlan Power, YouTuber and professional gamer, and NBA Champions Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova.
The Aescape Experience is expected to be available at partner locations in late 2023; interested partners should visit aescape.com to learn more.
Founded in 2017 by Eric Litman and headquartered in New York City, Aescape helps hospitality brands, corporations, medical and wellness practitioners, and elite sports teams deliver an advanced massage therapy and holistic wellness experience based on revolutionary technology that mimics human touch. The company brings together innovative research, a customizable user experience, and a comprehensive, insights-driven approach to physical wellness and recovery that leaves people feeling great. Look for the product to launch in the U.S. in late 2023.
About Valor Siren Ventures
The Valor Siren Ventures (VSV) mission is to be the leading innovation engine and investor in early-stage sustainability, food, food technology, retail, and retail technology investing. Rooted in Valor’s history of food and retail technology, Valor believes there is an opportunity to develop a new model for venture investing with VSV. Our team aspires to create value by generating differentiated investment opportunities, applying our intellectual capital, and accelerating the growth of portfolio companies through operations assistance in scaling.
About Valor Equity Partners
Valor Equity Partners is an operational growth investment Firm focused on investing in high-growth companies across various stages of development. For decades, Valor has served its companies with unique expertise to solve the challenges of growth and scale. Valor partners with leading companies and entrepreneurs who are committed to the highest standards of excellence and the courage to transform their industries.
About Fifth Wall
Founded in 2016, Fifth Wall, a Certified B Corporation, is the largest venture capital firm focused on technology for the global real estate industry. With approximately $3.2 billion in commitments and capital under management, Fifth Wall connects many of the world’s largest owners and operators of real estate with the entrepreneurs who are redefining the future of the Built World. Fifth Wall is backed by a global mix of more than 100 strategic limited partners (LPs) from more than 15 countries, including BNP Paribas Real Estate, British Land, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Hilton, Host Hotels & Resorts, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Kimco Realty Corporation, Lennar, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Marriott International, MetLife Investment Management, MGM Resorts, Related Companies, Starwood Capital, Toll Brothers, and others. Fifth Wall believes this consortium represents one of the largest groups of potential partners in the global Built World ecosystem, which can result in transformational investments and collaborations with promising portfolio companies.
About Crosslink Capital
Crosslink, founded in 1989, is a Bay Area-based early-stage venture capital firm with over $5B in assets under management. Crosslink partners with founders that are market disruptors and category creators, typically at the Seed through Series A stage, across highly dynamic enterprise and consumer technology sectors. Our investments include Equinix, Pandora, Blue Arc, Coupa, Virage Logic, BetterUp and Chime along with over 300 other companies.
About Alumni Ventures
Alumni Ventures offers accredited individuals access to network-powered venture capital — a key asset class missing from the portfolios of many sophisticated investors. Since launching its first venture fund in 2015, AV has raised more than $1 billion across two dozen Alumni and Focused Funds, serving a growing network of 8,000 investors and 600,000 community members and subscribers. AV evaluates hundreds of opportunities every year and has invested in 1,000+ unique portfolio companies. In 2021, PitchBook ranked AV as the third most active VC firm in the world. AV funds are private, for-profit, and not affiliated with or sanctioned by any school.
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