35 Comments

Summary:

We don’t usually write about parties, but the Wellsphere launch this weekend was a fun one. Held at the Mission Cliffs climbing gym in San Francisco, the bash was lively and well-attended, as you can see in the somewhat intelligible video interview with Wellsphere CEO Ron […]

We don’t usually write about parties, but the Wellsphere launch this weekend was a fun one. Held at the Mission Cliffs climbing gym in San Francisco, the bash was lively and well-attended, as you can see in the somewhat intelligible video interview with Wellsphere CEO Ron Gutman embedded below the jump.

So what’s Wellsphere? It’s a wellness — fitness and healthy eating, mostly — -oriented social network, opening to the public today. The core idea is for it to be a resource as well as prompt for finding gyms, restaurants, and activities, focusing on positive encouragement rather than avoidance of sickness and obesity.

Wellphere’s informational index will be amplified by its members, who offer advice and connect to each other to arrange activities and help motivate each other to uphold workout resolutions. I brought along some muggle friends to the party and they actually seemed pretty excited about the idea.

I think the site could do with increased capability for users to edit its core resources rather than pushing their participation over to personal profiles and blogs. However, encouraging social activity among Wellsphere members is even more important. All Yahoo has to do is better localize a its health vertical and then what have you got.

San Francisco-based Wellsphere has raised an angel round as well as a Series A from investors including Gemini Israel Funds and healthcare management guru Woodrow Myers, but Gutman would only describe the total amount raised as “a few million dollars.” The 14-person company emerged from a multidisciplinary group at Stanford.

See additional coverage on TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

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  1. Jeremy Pepper Monday, January 29, 2007

    Something about alcohol and partying and wellness just don’t seem to fit.

    Then again, something about sitting in front of your computer, turning pale and soft, doesn’t jibe with an online fitness network.

  2. The idea might be cool and the launch party might be fun, but does that make a good Website or a good company? I’ve checked out Wellspere and find it to be a true alpha, so full of bugs and confusing as to be unusable. There are hardly any users on the site and I could find almost no one that took the time to fill out a Wellsphere. The design is horrendous and Web site seems to have missed all Web 2.0 features.

    Traineo, RevolutioHealth, and others seem to be much better attemps at capturing this health-nut market.

  3. uhhhhhh… okay.

    Let’s review: you throw a big launch party, stick a video on YouTube, have the same positive and upbeat posters on VentureBeat and TechCrunch, and have a Website full of bugs and limited functionality…

    This is professional PR management and not true grass roots community excitement over an innovative and exciting site. Look elsewhere folks. You’re being taken advantage of.

  4. Hey! That was MY video on YouTube.

    Skepticism registered, though.

  5. OMG, this company is a joke. The party was a total farce. I know several people who work there and the CEO is a raving lunatic. The whole engineering team quit on the same day and they had to scramble to put this out. They got 3MM in funding by conning an Israeli VC who was about to go on maternity leave. You couldn’t imagine a worse place to work.

  6. Jeremy Pepper Monday, January 29, 2007

    Okay, Greg gets kudos for his funny comment.

  7. Jeremy,

    Gregs comment is quite funny unless you happen to work there or invested in it. He is 100% correct and ‘lunatic’ is far too flattering to be used as a description of the CEO.

    They will never get beyond 14 employees because it only takes a day or two for someone quit, as in get up and walk out with no intention of ever coming back.

    Infact, I would almost guarantee that someone quit today. The errors happening on the site will cause the CEO to explode in rage and try to pinpoint blame on someone, likely the only someone who knows ANYTHING computer related. That someone will either get up and leave or break the CEOs nose. My bet is the latter as a broken nose is long overdue and likely longed for by the other 13 workers.

    The blind leading the blind is an understatement on this one.

  8. Seriously I looked at the site after reading these comments. At first I was skeptical. You are right the site is full of bugs and nonsense content that was obviosly made up. I think they took money from a vc so they could throw a big party. There site is the worst seen yet. Guys you cannot use PR alone. Too many niches in this space already. Boring.

  9. Just checked it out. It is awful. Are you sure there are employees working at Wellsphere? Looks bad and why are there so many bugs?

  10. I worked there too! It’s a comical display of Stanford wannabes with plentiful ego but no technical or management experience. There are about 4 times as many ex-employees as there are current employees. It’s really funny to see what a pathetic website they finally puked up after two years of dicking around.

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