The global pandemic put a spotlight on people’s yearning for wellness and well-being. Niremia Collective, a Silicon Valley–based venture capital firm, is tapping into that — and the gender disparity in VC — with its first fund of $22.5 million in capital commitments.
Founders Naoko Okumoto and Nichol Bradford met in 2018 and worked on various projects before coming together as investors to support startups at the pre-seed and seed stages focused on well-being technology.
Niremia got its name from the combination of “iremia,” meaning a state of peace and tranquility in Greek, and the first letter of the founders’ names.
“Human happiness and health should be at the center of the world,” Okumoto told TechCrunch. “We are born to be happy, and we want humans to be the best version of themselves. Making an investment into technology enables people to tap into that human potential.”
Okumoto, who spent 17 years working with large tech companies, has a storied history of investing and building businesses in the U.S. and Japan. She was previously managing U.S. investment and collective impact community building for Mistletoe Venture Partners, a social impact fund founded by Taizo Son. Okumoto was also the CEO of Amber Bridge Partners, an advisory firm specializing in cross-border business development, investment and operations.
Bradford, who also worked in tech and venture building, went into the video game business, working at Disney Interactive and Vivendi Games. While in corporate strategy at Vivendi, she was part of the deal team in the Activision Blizzard merger with Microsoft. She is also the founder of Transformative Tech, touted as “the world’s largest ecosystem in well-being technology” with some 9,000 members across 72 countries.
Mistletoe Venture Partners is one of the limited partners of the new fund and is joined by domestic and international corporations and institutional investors, including Shionogi Pharmaceuticals and MIXI Inc.
As the global wellness market is poised to reach $8.5 trillion by 2027, Niremia Collective intends to provide capital and management resources to high-growth well-being startups. In addition, the firm wants to incubate new businesses and be a resource for those planning to enter the sector.
“We invest in mental, social and emotional well-being as well as human purpose and performance,” Bradford said. “All of this is human potential and technology. It’s how we heal, thrive and reach our highest potential as human beings. You have to have mental health to be able to do that.”
Niremia Collective has made 12 investments from its debut fund so far. Those include Feno, which offers AI-powered oral care services; Tripp, a VR/XR wellness platform; and DeepWell, which specializes in mental health treatment using gaming.