Cameron Diaz is now an investor in an acupuncture franchise chain, along with Strand Equity, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm that led the minority investment.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Modern Acupuncture offers a variety of traditional and cosmetic acupuncture services in 49 locations across the country — the 50th in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, the first in the Manhattan, will open next week. Services offered include acupuncture for pain relief, stress and anxiety, headaches, sports injuries, digestion and facial acupuncture for reducing lines and wrinkles.
Modern Acupuncture was founded in 2016 by Matt Hale, who was previously vice president of operations at The Joint, a chiropractic franchise business. Hale’s idea was to make acupuncture more accessible and affordable, similar to what Joint had done for chiropractic work. While Modern Acupuncture’s pricing differs by location, a walk-in session in Dana Point, Calif., costs $89. The business relies primarily on a subscription model, which in Dana Point is priced at $69 a month for two sessions or $1,195 a year for unlimited sessions. Joint reported $165 million in sales for 2018, and Hale and his partners at Strand think Modern Acupuncture’s business could grow to surpass that number.
Diaz, who is known as a wellness enthusiast and has written books on the topic — including “The Longevity Book” and “The Body Book” — declined to comment on her investment. “She’s going to support the business however she wishes,” said Seth Rodsky, cofounder and managing partner of Strand Equity, when asked if Diaz was going to use her social media following to advertise Modern Acupuncture.
“We had a thesis last year that identified acupuncture as a [growing] wellness and health-care service,” said Rodsky, who said he was attracted to Modern Acupuncture’s franchise model. “We were seeing a lot of places in mini-malls, off the beaten path.”
While much of Modern Acupuncture’s service menu focuses on pain and stress relief, Hale said the chain’s cosmetic acupuncture services are popular, with nearly 20 percent of clients coming in specifically for wrinkle-reducing treatments. “By sticking these little needles in your face, you’re producing oxygen, blood flow and collagen to the area, which helps fill in lines,” Hale said. “So many patients are coming in for before-and-afters. Their friends are saying, ‘What are you doing [to your skin]?'”
The chain anticipates doubling in size in 2020 and is looking at Canada and Europe for international expansion.
Even in New York, there is little competition for a democratized acupuncture experience. Modern Acupuncture’s only peer in Manhattan is Wthn, an acupuncture clinic marketed to Millennials that last year opened a location in the Flatiron and now has a product line of herbal blends. Wthn’s membership is priced at $75 a month, which includes one acupuncture session that includes cupping and LED light therapy. Wthn launched with $2.5 million in funding led by Red Sea Ventures.