INVESTORS in wellness look to psychedelics : Fund involved with Goop sees opening after 2 cities decriminalize psilocybin.

Goop, Moon Juice and Daily Harvest are women-led companies oriented  toward wellness, that fuzzy intersection of health and well-being. They share an ethos - and also an investor, Able Partners.

''We are probably the first fund to focus exclusively on wellness,'' said Amanda Eilian, 42, one of the firm's two partners.

This focus makes Able a bellwether for the direction in which wellness is headed. So it's useful to know that it has also invested in Sanctuary [an astrology app], Coconut Cult [probiotic-infused coconut ''yogurt''], and MUD\WTR  [a coffee alternative that includes mushrooms].

Now, Able is getting into psychedelics. 

MS. Eilian and her partner, Lisa Blau, originally became interested in women led wellness companies not because they saw them as sympathetic underdogs but because those companies were ''an arbitrage opportunity'' - a way of saying that start-ups that are run by women or oriented toward women were undervalued.

A similar calculus has led the firm to invest in co-called vice industries, looking for a market advantage over institutional investors that can't get or won't support companies centered on sexual affairs, cannabis or other stigmatized goods and services.

Laura Huang, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School studies why investors invest, said that as a venture capitalist firms proliferate, each grows increasingly specialized.

It would make sense, she said, that such firms would progress from women led businesses to other categories once seen as risky or potentially reputation damaging.

''It was women for a while, and now it's these lifestyle brands,'' Dr. Huang said. ''There's this internal competitive pressure to find that diamond in the rough.

So there's this constant pressure for people to be looking at what's that next thing that's undervalued.''

Able is unwilling to invest in cannabis; its partners believe that the risks of taking the drug recreationally have been understated. But it is now an early stage investor in two companies that are that are involved in the research of psychedelic compounds for medical use, Compass Pathways and Atai Life Sciences.

''Most institutional funds can't invest in areas like psychedelics,'' Ms. Eilian said. ''So there was this  white space for somewhat untraditional funds like ourselves to be able to look at the category.''

Particularly because the psychoactive drug psilocybin was recently decriminalized in Denver and Oakland, Calif., it has started to look like a good bet.

Compass Pathways, which is in London, announced in January that it had been granted a patent in the United States. The patent covers a particular method of obtaining psilocybin in order to treat drug -resistant depression. The treatment is currently in a phase 11b clinical trial.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Wellness and New Approaches, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jonah Engel Bromwich.


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