This week’s Psychedelic Spotlight is Gwella. A specialist brand house and life sciences company operating at the intersection of psychedelics and wellness. They are developing products that aim to elevate people’s health and well-being; mind, body, and spirit.
What’s your company vision?
Gwella is a modern wellness platform that exists at the intersection of 3 megatrends: personal wellness, mushrooms, and psychedelics. Our mission is to build the most accessible & original over-the-counter wellness product portfolio in the world.
The platform is tailored towards people who opt-in for natural and plant-based alternatives to elevate their health, get more creative, improve cognition, and have profound life-changing experiences through altering their consciousness. Our core belief is that an open-access ethos is fundamental to helping and transforming the most number of lives.
Why was your company started?
Our team all shares a passion for mushrooms and plant-based wellness. For years we’ve been conducting R&D on what problems mushrooms can actually move the needle on, stacking them with synergistic botanicals and creating novel products that solve real-life problems.
On the functional side, most companies in the space were/are making the same variation of mushroom coffee, tea, and supplements – we saw a gap and wanted to create products that are novel, differentiated, and engineered with a specific health use case in mind.
With psychedelics, we saw most of the activity (and capital) moving towards a hyper-medicalized approach. While we admire the important work that the majority of companies in this space are focusing on through clinical psychedelic applications, we believe medical usage only scratches the surface of the potential of these compounds, and limiting psychedelic access to medical trials and integrated therapy creates multi-year barriers for general public access.
At Gwella, we’re interested in transformation. We’re focussed on the“plus six” – we’re building tools to bring people up from zero to plus six, not from minus six to zero. Elevation and optimization, not fixing or curing serious health conditions. Products and tools that enable the safe and effective use of psychedelics for everyday life.
We’re taking an open-access approach, which will focus on commercialization, accessibility, and scale.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Assessing and prioritizing opportunity. The space is expanding and evolving so fast that we’ve had to really be disciplined about where we focus and what we work on. It’s easy to get distracted. For example, we decided early on we didn’t want to get involved with cultivation as it’s a distraction from our core; the consumer.
To be honest, I’m not sure why companies think vertical integration is an advantage. There’s a reason why CPG giants like Coca Cola don’t farm their own sugar or Heineken their own hops, or Starbucks their own coffee, or Four Sigmatic their own mushrooms. Our plan is to focus on what we’re good at; building and scaling products that consumers love. For everything else, we’ve lined up best-in-class partnerships.
What excites you most?
- -The growing acceptance of these substances in the mainstream. That means less stigma, less criminalization (along with the destruction that causes) and steady progress towards the idea of cognitive liberty.
- -All the new treatment options and medical applications that will help mitigate suffering when it comes to mental (and physical) health.
- -Getting to a place, societally, when it’s acceptable for psychedelic medicine to be perceived as not just something to treat mental illness, but for the betterment of the well. For transforming and elevating, not just fixing or curing.
- -And finally, we’re about to launch Mojo after 12 months of R&D – a first of its kind product that pharmacologically mimics the reported effects of microdosing psilocybin in a legal gummy platform. Engineered with our exclusive full-spectrum Cordyceps Sinensis CS-4 mushroom concentrate, as well as a proprietary blend of 14 different plant based bioactives, Mojo offers a sustained clean energy boost, increased cognition and enhances performance and focus.
What is your biggest lesson learned when raising capital?
Given that the majority of companies in this space are public, or are planning to go public, most investors have large exposure in the capital markets. That exposure can affect sentiment when raising capital in private companies; IE it’s a lot easier to raise when everyone is in the green than when everyone is in the red. And that’s something you really can’t control.
Did you notice any type of investor differences while raising money?
Of course. It’s a space that’s attracted an enormous amount of attention and speculation. There are some incredibly knowledgeable funds and investors in the space, like Vine Ventures, Ambria Capital, and JLS Fund. But with speculation, comes a lot of ‘hot money’ which typically has 1) less expertise and 2) less patience. There are also investors that have very tight thesis and only invest in one sub-section of the space, and some that are broader.
Describe your business model in 10 words or less
OTC products at the intersection of wellness, mushrooms and psychedelics.
What tips would you give founders entering fundraising?
Find mission-aligned capital – also be mindful (and strategic) about the types of investors you add to your cap table.
We’d like to thank Gwella for being a part of the Psychedelic Spotlight series. Stay tuned for weekly profiles on leaders in the psychedelic industry, and check out the Psychedelic Directory to learn more about Gwella.psilocybin mushroom psychedelic microdosing therapy psychedelics investors shares otc vine ventures gwella