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Franchise Times – From Biohacking to Food Tech, This Issue Has It All

Creator of Upgrade Labs, Dave Asprey

Netflix. Wine. Chocolate. Or maybe it was HBO Max, margaritas and nachos. So many choices for all of us stuck at home during the pandemic, aaaaand maybe those choices weren’t as healthy as they should have been. Hopefully, we didn’t take any years off our lives binging “Ted Lasso.”

I don’t think Dave Asprey has any such fears. “I identify as 28 percent old,” he tells FT Senior Editor Beth Ewen. “I’m going to live to be 185. Chronologically I’m 49, but I’m 11 years younger biologically.” Asprey is the founder of Upgrade Labs, a franchise that seeks to provide wellness products and services designed to make us live longer, healthier and better lives.

Indeed, Upgrades Labs is just one of many featured in our cover story on new-age wellness franchises that are taking off. In fact, one brand received $140 million in Series C funding from a private equity firm and attracted an investment from former NFL football player Tim Tebow.

Imagine this: The Big Squeeze, a compressor that pushes cellular waste from the lower body, finally being flushed out by the kidneys. Or, The Cold HIIT, which applies cold compresses around your arms and thighs to “mimic the beneficial hormone-boosting effects of a long workout in 20 minutes,” Beth reports. My favorite: The Cheat Machine. “It can add up to a week’s worth of lifting in 15 minutes,” Bryan Torrellas, assistant manager at the Santa Monica location of Upgrade Labs, tells Beth. For someone who has lifted weights for years, I am raising my hand for this one.

These services and others, like IV drips, red light therapy, cryotherapy and more, are the offerings to consumers, who are lining up. You’ll have to read our coverage to find out more about the concepts, what they can promise, and finally, what they deliver.

Continuing with our overall health, beauty and wellness package, we have coverage of Ellie Mental Health, an outpatient counseling and therapy clinic with 16 corporate locations in Minnesota and 125 franchises signed to be developed in other major cities.

As with many franchise founders, the duo who launched the brand were trying to solve a problem: In this case, too much red tape with accessing mental health services. And, as we all know, COVID wasn’t easy on our collective mental health, either, so there is more demand than ever.

WellBiz Brands, which owns concepts Amazing Lash, Drybar, Elements Massage, Fitness Together and Radiant Waxing, was dealt a blow when COVID shutdown locations temporarily. No matter, because the company, which acquired two brands in 2021, made a rebound almost to full recovery by the first quarter of 2021, reports FT Senior Writer Matthew Liedke.

“For sure, COVID was a challenge for personal services,” WellBiz CEO Jeremy Morgan tells Matthew. “One-on-one with another person services certainly added a challenge. However, I think the resilience of our brands and categories really showed up. These clearly are brands that matter and that our members flocked back to as soon as they felt comfortable.” It’s a statement we all like to hear—a business being back.

We have more in this issue, including contributing writer Nancy Weingartner Monroe’s conversation with Phil Zeidman, a longtime franchise super lawyer retiring after 60 years, about what he learned and experienced during a storied career.

And our own Nick Upton, technology editor of sister publication Food On Demand, launched his Tech Stack column this month, covering technology in the franchise sector. It’s changing quickly, so we’ll rely on Nick to keep us current.

Pick your poison: wine, margarita, kombucha or coffee, we give you permission to sit down and read. It may not add years to your life, but we can guarantee you’ll be informed and entertained for a couple of hours.