LifeSpeak to acquire ALAViDA, extending solutions to address substance use

A woman with her arms folded on the table, sitting across an open bottle of wine and a glass of wine half-full. The ALAViDA logo is in white text and an orange background.

LifeSpeak, a Toronto-based employee wellness software company, has entered into an agreement to acquire ALAViDA for $12 million, consisting of a $7 million cash payment and up to a $5 million earnout.

Since its launch in 2016, ALAViDA has developed a substance use disorder (SUD) solution for employers through its mobile app available in the Apple and Android app stores. The app combines the processes of patient detection, assessment by board-certified addiction physicians, personalized treatment plans, care coordination, and reporting into one turnkey platform.

According to the company, its web app acts as a front-end referral and prevention solution, providing employees with remote and discreet access to evidence-based treatment options for SUD.

“One-third of workplace mental health issues are substance use challenges, but the associated stigma often prevents people from coming forward to seek the treatment or care they need.”

This acquisition will see the introduction of ALAViDA’s SUD-focused solutions to LifeSpeak’s customer base, and LifeSpeak’s mental health and wellbeing education platform will be offered to ALAViDA’s existing clients through cross-sell opportunities.

“One-third of workplace mental health issues are substance use challenges, but the associated stigma often prevents people from coming forward to seek the treatment or care they need,” said Michael Held, founder and CEO of LifeSpeak.

“Business leaders have developed an elevated awareness of mental health issues and SUD in the workplace, and they now understand it is critical for people facing these challenges to have access to high-quality, confidential tools that can support them on their journey of behavioral change,” he added.

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The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed startup was a brainchild of Held, who was working in the professional services world where he said he’d often have colleagues come into his office to confide in him about their struggles. According to Held, it was these personal conversations and his open-door policy that sparked the inception of LifeSpeak.

Initially a provider of occupational live workshops in 2004, LifeSpeak has moved its resources online in 2008 and expanded its services to offer a suite of products addressing mental health and wellbeing education.

LifeSpeak’s learning hub platform currently offers more than 2,300 video training sessions, podcasts, tip sheets, and other proprietary content from over 300 acclaimed experts. Its digital-based resources can be accessed through LifeSpeak’s mobile app or web dashboard.

ALAViDA is LifeSpeak’s second acquisition this month, as the latter bought up Lift, an online wellness company, for approximately $15 million.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and the business and technology editor at The Eyeopener, Ryerson's largest independent newspaper.