In a growing cultural shift towards mindful drinking, Sunnyside, a new app championing healthy alcohol consumption habits, has recently secured $11.5 million in Series A funding, spearheaded by Motley Fool Ventures, with substantial participation from Will Ventures. This funding paves the way for Sunnyside’s innovative foray into the realm of AI-driven mindful drinking coaching, a feature aptly named “Sunny,” which generates personalized recommendations for Sunnyside’s team of human coaches.
Major contributors to the funding round include Uncork Capital, Offline Ventures, Joyance Partners, Wisdom Ventures, Eudemian Ventures, Adjacent, Scribble Ventures, Cooley LLP, and MyFitnessPal founder Michael Lee. Sunnyside has raised a total of $14.6 million to date. Alongside the funding announcement, Sunnyside welcomed Steve Lloyd as its Chief Product and Technology Officer, a seasoned professional who previously held the same role at the fitness app Strava.
There are approximately 146 million adults who drink alcohol in the U.S., and 47% want to cut back on that. So, this is where Sunnyside’s journey began with a mission to foster a dialogue about the impact of unmanaged drinking, offering an alternative to sobriety-focused programs. In a bid to catalyze the movement towards mindful drinking, the newly secured funds will play a crucial role in unveiling Sunny, the AI mindful drinking coach, aimed at enhancing the coaching experience for Sunnyside’s community.
For an annual subscription fee of $99, Sunnyside’s app provides users with a suite of features, including daily drink tracking, SMS reminders, personalized one-on-one coaching, and a community chat section for members to share their challenges and victories. Their analytics dashboard offers very helpful insights into saved money and calories, engaging users with challenges like a 30-day alcohol reset or friendly competitions to reduce alcohol consumption by 50%.
The premium offering, priced at $298 annually, provides additional benefits such as weekly Zoom check-ins with coaches and faster response times. Sunnyside offers a free 15-day trial for users to explore and understand how the app can assist in reducing alcohol consumption.
Sunnyside’s AI mindful drinking coach, Sunny, is designed to support human coaches by offering recommendations for member queries. For example, if a member wishes to limit themselves to only one alcoholic beverage at a party, Sunny provides guidance on adhering to that goal. However, the AI-generated recommendations undergo human review before being sent as SMS to maintain the personal touch.
Nick Allen, Sunnyside’s co-founder and CEO, emphasized that while AI enhances the coaching experience, the goal is not to replace human coaches but to make them more effective and enable them to provide deeper, individualized coaching for each member’s unique situation.
Built on ChatGPT, Sunnyside’s AI is enriched with the platform’s datasets capturing members’ drinking patterns, long-term behavior changes, and habits around drinking. The coaching team, comprised of around 20 members, undergoes an independently developed coaching certification program in collaboration with a licensed counselor, incorporating best practices from the sponsor/sponsee model.
Sunnyside’s approach reflects a commitment to creating a supportive community, drawing from personal experiences of the founders. Allen and co-founder Ian Andersen share a history of growing up in households affected by alcoholism, which fuels their deep personal mission to bring about a change in the way people perceive and manage their relationship with alcohol.
Since their inception in 2020, Sunnyside claims to have helped over 200,000 individuals in cutting out 13.5 million drinks. Despite seeing a surge in alcohol use during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sunnyside’s members have reported a 32% reduction in drinking on average, eliminating 1,500 calories and saving over $50 in their first month of using the app.
As Sunnyside ventures into a new era with the infusion of Series A funding, the startup envisions becoming a household name synonymous with mindful drinking and a beacon of support for those seeking to transform their relationship with alcohol. This must-have mindful drinking app is currently available for download on the Apple Store, representing a step towards a healthier and more conscious approach to alcohol consumption for all.