HIVE BIO: Not quite buzzing yet
Hailed as a leading psychedelic start-up four years ago, the luxury psychedelic clinic has been slow to open, but is seeking more funding at Wonderland
This summer I saw a strange corporate presentation. It was an event in London held by HIVE BIO who have been described as one of the leading psychedelic start-ups in Europe. The event, at the Union Club in Soho, was billed as a presentation on the transformative benefits of psychedelic therapy. I was curious to find out more about psychedelic start-ups in Europe, so I went along.
What followed was a not-very-good presentation on psychedelic therapy, firstly by HIVE BIO CEO Alex Latyshev, and then by HIVE BIO chief scientist Natalia Vorobyeva. Meanwhile a photographer bounced around taking publicity shots of the event – that was weird, but even weirder was the fact Alex and Natalia never actually mentioned what sorts of products HIVE offered customers. You’d expect a start-up to include slides laying out their products and prices to try and sign people up.
In the Q&A I raised my hand. ‘Are you actually open? What do you offer customers?” I asked. ‘Yes we are!’ replied Alex. ‘In fact, we actually had our first customer this week so this is a big day!’ He then introduced a guest speaker, a Portuguese high society shaman and ‘consciousness activist’ called Satya, who told us she had cured several people of cancer in ayahuasca retreats. She then encouraged the Soho audience to put down their beers and be led through a visualization and ‘fire breathing’ exercise.
Why, I wondered, would a start-up hold an event and not promote their own products more aggressively? The whole thing felt like a photo opp – but for who?
The weirdest thing about HIVE BIO is they have been saying they were opening or about to open since they launched in 2020. In nearly four years, they’ve never started business as a psychedelic retreat.
Despite that, they were nominated for ‘best psychedelic retreat’ at Wonderland, which happens to be owned by The Conscious Fund, one of HIVE’s main shareholders. Alex and Nataliya are at Wonderland again this year, seeking a further $5 million in funding from investors to expand around the world.
Meanwhile, those who have worked for HIVE or consulted for them say it wasn’t a pleasant experience – delays in pay, promises of equity or jobs that never materialized, and bewilderment at the endless pushing back of opening.
What’s going on?
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