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Limeade Acquires TINYpulse: More Than Meets the Eye?

Bret's Blog, Investment, Marketing, Work Tech Trends
Bret's Blog, Investment, Marketing, Work Tech Trends

Earlier this week, Limeade acquired TINYpulse for $8.8 million in cash (along with some possible earnouts over the next 18 months). The acquisition is interesting on its own merits — even in a Work Tech market that rarely suffers from a slow news day. The combination of “employee listening” with “immersive well-being solutions” is a unique variation on the theme of employee experience platforms.

But when the TINYpulse acquisition is considered alongside a lower-key announcement Limeade made last week (July 14), some evidence emerges of a broader strategy for increasing the reach of well-being relative to the large-and-getting-larger employee experience market. That announcement was about Limeade’s integration with Microsoft Viva, which will make several components of Limeade available directly inside Microsoft Viva Connections. In other words, Limeade will be available in the flow of work on the world’s most adopted productivity platform. (It’s also interesting to note that the collaboration between Microsoft and Limeade is already leveraging AI to tailor well-being experiences and to recommend relevant under-utilized employee benefits).

When Microsoft first announced Viva back in February (basically claiming they invented the very notion of the employee experience platform — ahem), many analysts predicted that the world would get a lot tougher for software companies who were already working their way toward employee experience platform positions. Instead, Microsoft Viva immediately established the viability of the EXP market and created a huge new channel for other employee experience companies who are ready, willing, and able to integrate.

So why does all this matter? The truth is that innovation in the well-being category has been held back for years by the limited mandate of benefits and wellness buyers. Their raison d’être is mostly to reduce healthcare expenses, and their influence over broader employee experience initiatives is generally limited. Limeade’s integration with Microsoft Viva and subsequent acquisition of TINYpulse could point to a new strategy for bringing well-being experiences and workflows (and the people who buy them) into the mainstream of employee experience and everyday user experience.

Yes, it’s reasonable to expect that the TINYpulse acquisition will bolster Limeade’s core well-being position (this is probably the most credible combination of listening and well-being to come along so far). And that’s good news for their wellness buyers. But the acquisition also provides Limeade with direct access to a more influential audience (at least when it comes to employee experience). Limeade’s other solutions (like inclusion and engagement) will likely enjoy a warmer reception there. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Viva partnership also increases Limeade’s reach by making key components of its well-being solutions accessible to a much larger audience, in a more immersive model. Finally, both moves open up the elusive middle market.

If these observations are accurate, then Limeade may be doing both the well-being industry and benefits departments a big favor. By expanding its market reach and delivering well-being and employee experience solutions in the flow of work, Limeade is possibly blazing a trail that will finally help well-being find its way to the mainstream of employee experience.

Bret Starr

Partner & CEO

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