WellTheory Founder Ellen Rudolph. Image: Ellen Rudolph

WellTheory is a virtual care platform working to reverse the autoimmune epidemic and give voice to the 50M+ Americans who struggle, often quietly, with “invisible illnesses” — conditions that are under-served and under-recognized by traditional medicine and (perhaps uncoincidentally…) disproportionately impact women and minorities. WellTheory provides this massively underserved population with personalized, evidence-based care they need to reclaim their health. Its root-cause approach – as opposed to prescribing band-aid fixes – provides a sustainable solution for healing autoimmune disease. By combining expert-led holistic health programs, personalized coaching, evidence-based results, and a supportive community, WellTheory not only has the power to heal members more effectively (+ long-term), but also to make them feel validated. Ultimately, it’s filling the gaps missing from the standard approach to autoimmune care — those gaps are causing major problems.

Today the company launches after raising $7.2M in seed funding led by Accel. Other participants in the round include Lux Capital, Box Group, Coalition Operators as well as the CEOs of Everlane, Maven, and Pillpack to name a few.

Autoimmune disorders are on the rise. 50M+ Americans and the number has more than doubled in 30 yrs. Mounting research shows factors like Western diet, toxins, stress and, now, even viruses like long Covid, play a role in triggering autoimmunity. The silent epidemic of invisible illnesses is often overshadowed by diseases that are better understood by Western medicine or are more “visible.” As a result, autoimmune patients are often marginalized, stigmatized, or unrecognized by the US healthcare system.

Unfortunately, women largely bear the brunt of these systemic shortcomings. Autoimmune diseases (ADs) are estimated to affect between 5 and 8 % of the US population, and approximately 80% of these patients are women. Certain conditions effect people of color more dramatically. Black women and Hispanic women are diagnosed with lupus at close to 3x the rate of non-Hispanic white women and have a mortality rate that is between 2-3x higher than that of white women. This is a health crisis and it needs to be addressed.

WellTheory founder Ellen Rudolph is all too familiar with problems of being overlooked and gaslighted by the traditional health system and suffering through years of unexplainable, debilitating symptoms. “Everything seems fine” and “but you don’t look sick” were her repeated prognoses. She was even referred to therapists to help with her worried-well “psychological issues.” Ultimately, Rudolph was able to uncover the root cause of her autoimmunity and address it — and she’s now making it her life’s work to make sure others don’t suffer like she did. 

She shares in a blog post: “WellTheory is exactly what I wish I had at the beginning of my health journey, and I hope it will empower so many others to take their health into their own hands. Women and minorities with autoimmune disease have been told to suffer in silence for too long, and today is the day we get access to the care we’ve long deserved.”

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