How We’re Building a World Where Everyone Can Afford to Be Healthy


Ness is a fintech company building credit cards to reduce the cost of wellcare. Today, we’re announcing that we’ve raised a $15.5M seed round, launched our first product, and acquired WellSet’s provider network.

Will Ventures led the round with participation from Core Innovation Capital, Accomplice, Digitalis, GFC, Portage, and others. Other investors include founders and senior leaders from many of the greatest health and wellness brands like Sweetgreen, Mirror, Thrive Market, Whole30, Oura, Noom, Everly, Headspace, Ginger, Hungryroot, One Medical, and more.

The First Sighting

Our first product, Ness Rewards, allows you to earn points for healthy spending you’re already doing. Eventually, all healthy actions, from fitness activity to physician visits, will be rewarded. Today, consumers can redeem these points on curated products and services from brands like Sweetgreen, Thrive Market, Zeel, and more.

We’ve also acquired WellSet’s 4,000-person nationwide network of best-in-class practitioners. Soon, consumers will also be able to use the points they earn to see experts like health coaches, dietitians, therapists, and doulas.

All this is just the beginning of our vision to build a world where everyone can afford to be healthy. For more, read on.

The Biggest Kid In the Class

When I was 8, I had a bad accident that resulted in three surgeries and having my right arm in a cast for four years. A few doctor’s notes excusing me from gym class and a million or so Dr. Peppers later, suddenly I was the biggest kid in the class in Miami, Florida. (Of all places.)

I wanted to be healthy, but every time I tried to figure it out, it felt like every piece of advice I found was for people who already had six-pack abs and Gwyneth Paltrow. Everything else seemed like it was trying to take advantage of those who didn’t and weren’t. I eventually figured a thing or two out by reading scientific journals on nutrition (instantly making me super popular at parties) and started to eat better and move more. 

I became convinced that the internet needed an outlet that talked about health in a healthier way. I started that brand after graduating from college with Greatist. My vision was a site that published fact-checked, expert-approved content… all in the voice of a friend that was a little further along than whoever was reading it. An amazing team and I ended up building the largest health and wellness site on the internet for millennials. Eventually, it was acquired by Healthline/Red Ventures in 2019.

Though I was proud of the role Greatist played in shaping the narrative of health and wellness in a better, more constructive way (just as the concept was becoming more and more mainstream), I still wasn’t satisfied. Because no matter how accessible the idea of health and wellness may be, most things in health and wellness simply aren’t affordable.

For me, this hit hardest at the beginning of COVID when health insurance wouldn’t pay for me to see my therapist. I was struggling with an identity crisis after selling my first startup, moving to a new state, and had a pregnant wife, a sick mother, and an uncertain pandemic world all at once. It was obvious seeing a therapist I trusted would be the healthy thing to do, yet he was out of network, which made it impossible for me to reasonably afford seeing him.

We know (and experts agree) eating well, exercising, taking vitamin D, and working on mental health are all important to build a healthier society, yet we’ve never been less healthy… and this whole world of “wellcare” has never been more expensive.

That’s why we’re building Ness.

Why Healthcare Doesn’t Care

The more our early founding team and I explored why wellcare is so darn expensive, the more frustrated we got. It turns out essentially no one is financially incentivized to help us pay for it. In fact, health insurance companies (the most obvious solution since government itself is off the table) today are effectively dis-incentivized to help.

Unlike almost any other country in the world, the majority of Americans get insurance from their employer. And because people switch jobs so much more than before, the average person is on a health insurance plan for just three to four years. From the plan’s perspective, then, any dollar spent on your long-term health simply doesn’t help the bottom line (or, worse, is gifted to the competitor plan you get on when you get a new job). In short: Your insurance will probably help if you have a sudden, catastrophic health incident—not so much if you want to take steps to become healthier over time.

We realized if we could one day offer health insurance that you’d stick with for 30 to 40 years (not just three to four), we could justify investing in your long-term health right now. The healthier you are later on in life, the more we’d save—totally aligning incentives in this space for the first time. To get there, we needed to build long-term products (and an epic brand) you’d love that could reduce your cost of wellcare stat.

In other words, the Ness Rewards App is just the very beginning of our journey. Here’s the grand plan, if you’re curious…

How We’re Going to Make Wellcare More Affordable

Chapter 1: Rewarding You (Ness Rewards + Marketplace)

First, we’ve launched an app with a powerful health rewards program. 

Connect your existing credit cards, spend on healthy things, and earn points you can redeem in our curated marketplace of wellcare products, services, experiences, and practitioners.

The app is currently invite-only, though you can request an invite here.

Chapter 2: Rewarding You More (Ness Cards + Benefits)

Next, we’re launching credit cards to accelerate those rewards and give access to exclusive health and wellness benefits.

Our first offering is a premium charge card for people who actively spend a lot on wellcare already. The card will multiply the value of the points earned in the Ness Rewards App big time, letting users redeem way more in our marketplace and network. Imagine spending with our card and getting rewarded with healthy food every week, a health coaching session every month, and a massage every quarter. Card members can also access premium, always-on benefits from top health and wellness brands like Sweetgreen, Thrive Market, Headspace, and more.

Along the way, we’ve strategically built a best-in-class credit card platform and extraordinary user experience to more easily launch additional cards at different price points and value propositions. Soon, we’ll have a Ness card for everyone.

Chapter 3: Rewarding You Best (Ness Healthcare)

Of course, the really big idea is adding medical benefits, supplemental insurance, and eventually comprehensive health insurance on top of our cards. Today, more people than ever have a choice when it comes to where they get their health insurance—and we believe this trend will only continue. (This is thanks in no small part to skyrocketing healthcare costs borne by employers and the generic, expensive, and confusing plans for consumers on open exchanges).

With the brand experience, trust, and community we’re building, we believe many will choose Ness, allowing us to offer innovative healthcare programs based on unique needs… and increasingly cover more of the cost of wellcare along the way.

A plan is just a plan. Now watch us execute.

What’s Your Ness?

We believe everyone has the potential to be healthy. There are just so many obstacles in the way. Like trying to find the Loch Ness Monster, wellness goals can seem impossible to achieve… yet something still compels us to keep trying, optimistic one day we’ll finally hit a breakthrough.

To get there, we believe people need inspiration, guidance, and rewards along the way. This helps people find that Loch Ness Monster within them, which we call their ness. Your “ness” could be finding a new workout you’ll actually stick with, understanding your emotional triggers better, or eating healthier to reduce your chance of Alzheimer’s.

Whatever your ness is today, we believe the potential to achieve that goal is within you and we want to help remove those obstacles. That’s why we think of the Nessie like the North Star, a symbol for what that success looks like. (And why we call our team members Nessies, too.)

Ultimately, we’re building innovative financial products to give people the inspiration, guidance, and rewards they need along the way to find their ness.

Okay, I Read This Far and I’m In!

Love it! Well, you can request an invite for the Ness Rewards App here.

While you wait for an invite, join The Nessie, our newsletter discovering wellness finds to live better (not perfectly), and follow along at The Nessie, our publication sharing in-depth reviews of the best products and services in health and wellness. Also, we’re ramping up on Instagram and TikTok, too.

Want to partner with us? Fill out this form here.

Want to work with us? Visit our Callings page. We’re 25+ people strong, with a diverse team of hungry and creative folks all across the country. We’re actively hiring extraordinary people who can help us, no matter whether there’s a job description written or not. Let’s build something special together.

Join us!
Derek Flanzraich avatar

Derek Flanzraich

Founder and CEO

<a href="">Derek Flanzraich</a> is the Founder and CEO of Ness. Prior to Ness, he was the Founder and CEO of Greatist, the largest health and wellness site on the Internet for millennials. It was acquired by Healthline/Red Ventures in 2019. After the Greatist acquisition and prior to starting Ness, Derek consulted for some of the most well-known consumer health and wellness brands, like Galileo Health, GoodRx, Particle Health, Levels Health, 305 Fitness, Undivided, Elektra Health, NOCD, and Peloton. Read More.

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“This card is such an exciting addition to my wallet and it’s perfect for someone who values health and wellness but hasn’t found a credit card that rewards me for that. I love getting rewarded for wellness practices like sleeping, meditating, and moving my body—plus extra points on purchases at my favorite places like Whole Foods, ClassPass and sweetgreen. The app is easy to use and the card is designed for your definition of health and wellness, which I love. It’s flexible!”

Kira's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s no secret that wellness is such an important part of my everyday life. I spend a lot of money to help fuel my love of running, recovery, nutrition and mindfulness, so the fact that I can now earn rewards for every dollar I spend with the Ness Card is amazing. My health always comes first, and the Ness Card makes that easy to do. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Andi's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As a new mum, wellness and self-care is a priority for me—so I can, in turn, be able to take care of my baby. I love the incentives that Ness offers for making healthier choices. And to be rewarded along the way for those purchases is such a plus!

Oh, and getting 5x point rewards on my Erewhon $20+ smoothie makes it a little more justifiable.”

Amrit's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I made a promise to myself to find my joy again in 2023. For the past few years, I haven’t been taking care of myself mentally and physically because I’ve just been on the go and focusing on the future instead of being present. I realized that part of the reason I wasn’t happy was because I wasn’t taking care of myself. So, now with the Ness Card—which literally rewards you for staying on top of your wellness journey—I’ve easily been able to focus on my mental and physical journey. Using the card is now a part of my weekly routine, whether I’m buying groceries, going to therapy, spending a day at the spa, or treating myself to a delicious yummy meal.”

Candace's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love life with the Ness Card! The team behind the scenes work really hard to make it valuable and to create a sense of community, which you feel in every newsletter and hand-crafted partnership. The card itself encourages me to be even more curious about where I’m spending my money. It definitely incentivizes me to spend ‘healthier’, which is really unique. On top of that, getting points for taking more steps? There is seriously nothing like it.

David's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“My favorite thing about the Ness Card is that it rewards you for your healthy habits, and not all of them require spending. Yes, you can earn 5x points when you spend at any of their approved health and wellness merchants (think Erewhon and many of your other favorites) but you also earn points for being active daily! So now your sanity walks are literally paying off :) As someone who not only works in wellness but lives and breathes it, essentially most of my expenses live in that realm and with the Ness Card I can now be rewarded nicely for those purchases.”

Kirsty's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“I love that I have rewards to look forward to when I focus on my health and wellness. As a mom of two and full time photographer/creator, it’s hard to find time to prioritize my health and—as my body ages—I want to make sure that I’m treating it to all the TLC it needs (and deserves)! The Ness Card reminds me to take care of my mental, physical, and emotional health on the daily.”

Valerie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“It’s refreshing to have a card app that is so easy to use. I can track my spending and rewards at the click of a button. I love getting a notification when I get extra points for getting a full night sleep or getting my steps in, though of course those are optional. I work a lot, and I feel like I get extra rewarded for taking the time to take care of myself – whether it’s therapy or simply cooking at home instead of dining out. The points accumulate really quickly, and I’ve already gotten a $1,000 credit at Erewhon in my first four months. I also go visit family in Europe a lot, and no one takes my card there, so it’s so convenient to be able to use my Ness Card without ever paying a fee.”

Mélanie's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“As someone who spends the majority of her money on wellness, the Ness Card is perfect for me! I love earning 5x points on purchases at healthy businesses that I was already making, anyways. The Ness Card also motivates me to get enough sleep, practice mindfulness and other healthy habits. The app is really user-friendly and I love watching my points add up. I am excited to redeem them for wellness-related items!”

Lauren's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card motivates me to keep up my healthy habits, and has helped me discover new brands and products that are in alignment with my goals. I’m not spending any more with my Ness Card, but the money I am spending on health and wellness is actually earning me rewards, benefits, and even cash back. And because Ness’s definition of a ‘healthy merchant’ is so generous, I’m able to recognize all of the small ways I practice self-care throughout the week. From buying fresh veggies to going to therapy to taking my supplements, the Ness Card is there to cheer me on: ‘Keep being healthy, girl. You deserve 5x points for that.'”

Melissa's Favorite Healthy Merchants

“The Ness Card rewards me when I spend money on health and wellness. Especially because so much of my wellness routine is spent being active, gardening, making food with my husband, getting a massage, or having some me time, it is nice to be rewarded for that with points that are with brands I shop at all the time anyway. It allows my wellness choices to work harder which I love.”

Research Based

This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

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