Future Perfect: What Wellness Means Today—and in the Future

Entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors came together at M13’s Future Perfect virtual event.

Last Updated: March 3, 2021

Published: February 26, 2021


Now in its second year, the Future Perfect series was inspired by M13’s mission to support our community with connection and conversations—not just capital—that explore progressive ideas that lead to real innovation. We value different perspectives and believe collaboration and diversity of thought can lead to the best innovations while mitigating risk. 

As wellness becomes an ever more important focal area to be integrated into all facets of our lives, we gathered entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors for Future Perfect 2021 to help us understand what individual, mental, financial, organizational, and system wellness looks like today—and what’s on the horizon.

At M13, we’ve been investing in health and wellness since 2015, and our portfolio includes innovative companies—such as ClassPass, Heal, Daily Harvest, Thrive Market, Cue, Tonal, Seed, Feelmore Labs, Capsule, Thrive Global, and Rae—that are helping all of us navigate our physical, mental, and social healthscapes.

In the same way we consider consumer as a horizontal layer where we invest, we’re thinking about wellness today in all its incarnations of fitness, wholeness, and strength. Just as the pandemic has accelerated consumer behaviors five years into the future, it has floodlighted wellness.

On Day One of Future Perfect: Wellness, we covered everything from emotional intelligence to financial wellness. Day Two was all about building healthy businesses and ecosystems. 

Here are a few highlights from the two-day virtual event:

Arianna Huffington: “We’re all facing this delusion that burnout is the price you must pay for success.”

Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington described how sleep and rest are the bedrock of individual and corporate wellness.

“What has been really important is to redefine the wellness category to be very data- and science-based and move it out of the category of being warm and fuzzy. At the heart of the [Thrive] platform is that when we're recharged, we’re much more productive.”

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Suze Orman: “You can only fix a financial problem when you really fix what's going on with you.”

America’s personal finance expert Suze Orman connected with Northstar Co-founder and CEO Will Peng over a shared belief that employers should support their employees’ financial well-being: 

“If your money is a financial chaotic mess, that means you are a mess because your self worth equals your net worth. So you can't ever divide the two. You can't put your money over here and who you are over here. You are one. You have to have both of your feet in one boat going the same place. Your professional life, your personal life, your financial life—all of it has to be one.”

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LL Cool J: “I’m not competing with anyone else.” 

James Todd Smith shares startup tips and other lessons learned as an actor, musician, and entrepreneur. 

Envision success: “You’ve got to see good things happening in your life, and you’ve got to constantly work toward those good things.”

Constantly educate yourself: “Humility is a superpower. It’s about being the best me that I can be at maximizing my potential.”

Take small steps: “For a lot of people, it's not that you can't grow, but you have to be ready for that next step.”

Be mindful about hiring and building your team: “When you're making your hiring decisions, when you're making those choices about who's going to do what, when you look for who's going to set that operational strategy or set that tone in the meeting—just think about everybody. Because sometimes we can exclude people. It's not done intentionally. We can unintentionally reinforce things that we don't want to reinforce just out of old habits.”

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Adam Grant: “Psychological safety is just the freedom to take a risk without having to fear that you're going to get punished.”

The bestselling author of “Think Again” explained how psychological safety at startups leads to innovative solutions and ideas. He also offered strategies for creating a safe space at work, including:

Create an environment where people feel free to flag problems, suggest bold or unusual moves, and ask for help. “I think the mistake too many leaders and managers make is they say, “Don't bring me problems. Bring me solutions.” This is a dangerous philosophy because if people can only speak up when they have a solution, you will never hear about your biggest problems, which are too complex for any one person to solve.”

To curb burnout, consider these three categories of changes:

Reduce the demands of the job.

Give people more control over whatever demands they do face.

Provide them with more support.

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Here at M13, we’re committed to our mission to identify, understand, and invest in the core technologies that will drive and change consumer behavior over the next decade. That includes tracking and investing in early-stage startups that focus on health and well-being. 

Our Future Perfect event also featured insights from founders and advisors in M13’s portfolio, with fireside chats and panel discussion on:

Team Culture & Leader EQ

Moderator: M13 Partner and Head of Launchpad Anna Barber

Feedback: More Than a Suggestion Box

Moderator: M13 Partner and Head of Talent Matt Hoffman

Emerging Tech Trends in Well-Being

Moderator: M13 General Partner Latif Peracha

  • Brenda Freeman, Advisor at Emerge
  • Francois Kress, Co-founder and CEO at Feelmore Labs
  • Sly Lee, Co-founder and CEO at Emerge

Healthy Ecosystems: Bitcoin

Moderator: M13 General Partner Latif Peracha

Opening Access to Health

Moderator: M13 Partner and Head of Launchpad Anna Barber

  • Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, CEO at Kindra
  • Eric Kinariwala, Founder and CEO at Capsule
  • Nathalie Walton, Co-founder and CEO at Expectful  

Healthy Ecosystems: E-commerce

Moderator: Brent Murri, principal at M13

  • Alex Yancher, Co-founder and CEO at Passport 

    We are living and breathing these topics every day alongside our founding teams, advisors, investors, and friends in our galaxy. Inspired by these insights, we look forward to continuing these conversations around wellness and well-being with you in the future.

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