In Conversation with Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade

July 15, 2016

Andrew Adams - OAK HC/FT

Andrew Adams: What is the biggest problem that Limeade is solving?

Henry Albrecht: Limeade connects a company’s commitment to well-being with real, measurable business results.

Companies find it difficult to engage employees in meaningful activities related to well-being because there are trust issues, cultural issues and frankly, there are a lack of available technologies. Achieving real, authentic and committed engagement that helps people improve and also connects them to their companies is difficult and requires flexible, modern technology that learns and grows with the company over time.

We think about different levels of outcomes that companies care about. Our customers care about how many people are having fun and engaging in wellness activities. They care about HR outcomes: how much sick time employees take, how engaged they are at work and how likely they are to stay or quit. At the end of the day, a high energy, happy, and healthy workforce correlates to actual business results, including sales and earnings per share or, in a hospital environment, patient safety or patient outcomes.

It’s about making a connection not just to health outcomes but also a broader set of business results.

AA: What role does technology play in your company?

HB: Everything we design is built using technology to delight users and to meet them where they are, and to use all the great aspects of technology to deliver something that scales. Every time we think about meeting a customer’s needs, it’s always with technology first.

Some of the principles we think about in using technology are: Does it delight the user? Does it provide meaningful insights to the user but also to the buyer? Is it agile? Are we able to modify and update it over time to meet shifting market needs, changing customer needs or new technological developments? For example, we were the first company to deliver an agnostic device and app platform for activity challenges. That means we don’t just support a single piece of hardware; we support over 140 integrations so that people can all compete in a fun social competition with the same leaderboard no matter what app or device they choose.

We’re always thinking about ways to meet needs that are open and flexible for our enterprise customers.

Some other interesting tech trends Limeade is embracing include: Big data, analytics, machine learning, mobile everything and a more ambient tracking experience where you can accumulate points, rewards, badges and levels for going about your daily life and doing real-world activities, whether or not you’re specifically logging into the system

AA: What national, political or global issues impact or drive your business and industry?

There are a few megatrends we’re paying attention to: First is the general decline in the health of the global workforce. No matter which metrics you look at — obesity, chronic disease, healthcare spending — all of these are on the rise and need to be addressed.

Second is how employees think about employers. With a more contingent workforce, the gig economy, some companies going all in on culture and some companies basically treating every employee like a free agent and totally getting out of the game of culture — we’re seeing just a vast shift in the way that employees and employers think about their connection to each other. We’re strong believers that having an intentional culture and one that authentically invests in the well-being of its people is a critical element of being globally competitive and successful.

We’re focusing on this across a very diverse customer base from an industry standpoint. Technology; manufacturing; insurance; financial services; healthcare services. That’s a major differentiator for us because all of these businesses think about employees differently and have different margin profiles and different goals. Our solution has the flexibility to address the needs of these different types of companies.

Technology is transforming every industry. At the end of the day, regardless of the industry, you still need to deliver great value to your end customers and the way to do that is through an engaged and aligned workforce. Limeade exists to help employers who don’t have the right tools focus on delivering that great, consistent experience, whether for full-time, part-time, or gig employees.

AA: What were three key defining moments that led you to where you are today, as CEO of Limeade?

HB: The first was the original idea for the business. I was working at another company and unhappy there. It really impacted my life and my relationships outside the office. I had this insight that my physical health, emotional heath and my relationship and my work-life weren’t separate silos the way many companies think about them. They are all closely connected and that is really the core insight behind Limeade: that well-being is a broad concept that includes physical, emotional, financial and work factors that you can’t separate.

The second defining moment was probably when we had a financing round fallout in the early stages of our company. We had no money in the bank. We had no money to make payroll. We were strongly urged by financial backers and advisors to shut down the company and move on to the next project. So the leadership team got together over happy hour, had a laugh about it, buckled down and decided that our mission was bigger than any problem like making payroll. So we figured out a solution and paid people in stock. We got really crafty and creative to keep the dream alive.

Another big transition point was when we started raising our Series C round and funded the amazing growth we’ve seen over the last few years. As a culture-obsessed company, it’s hard to hire 100 people in a year and keep the culture humming in the exact same way that you had before. Frankly, it required a radical shift and we had to understand that the same things that got us success as a 75-person company were not at all the same things that would take us to the next levels and scale. That was a pivotal point in the company’s history, as well.

AA: Where do you hope to be, as an executive, in 5 years?

HB: For the company, I hope for great success and fulfillment of our mission. We want to have 25 million evangelists who love our service and use it every day. We want them to tell all their friends about how it’s measurably changed their lives. And from a market point of view, our business success will follow the success of our users and customers.

From a personal point-of-view I hope to be more humble, open, wise and have the ability to see opportunities based on all the data and experience we will gain over the coming years. It will be a time for listening and learning.


If I weren’t a CEO I would be… A high school English teacher and basketball coach.

My favorite movie is… “Unforgiven”, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood

My favorite musician is… Oh, that’s tough…. I’d have to say Red Hot Chili Peppers. My close second is Anthony Hamilton, who’s a North Carolina native.

My favorite hobby is… Basketball.

My favorite food is… Watermelon. I like the seeds, I’m not gonna lie. Seedless feels a little bit like cheating to me.

Do you have any pets? I have a Schnoodle, which is a mix between a Schnauzer and a Poodle. His name is Q*bert, like the video game.