From the New York Times:
As an Aquarius, David Birnbaum is naturally skeptical of astrology. But as an investor, he has zero doubts about the business potential of the $2.1 billion “mystical services market.” It’s an area that he has been trying, unsuccessfully, to invest in for nearly two decades.
Mr. Birnbaum researched lots of astrology start-ups in the Web 1.0 era but concluded then that they were not good investments. “They were pretty much just marketplaces sending traffic off to random astrologers,” he said. “They were definitely shady.”
This year he finally backed one: Sanctuary, an app that can be described as “Uber for astrological readings.” For $19.99 a month, you can receive a monthly one-on-one chat consultation with an astrologer. (The app also provides free daily horoscopes.)
Mr. Birnbaum’s decision to back a horoscope company through Five Four Ventures, the incubator he runs, “gets a lot of grins” from people in the finance world, he said. But they get it. Astrology is having a cultural moment, and for investors, that translates to dollar signs.
In recent years astrology traded its psychedelic new-wave stigma for modern Instagrammy witch vibes, and those vibes are very popular with millennial women. This means there’s money to be made. Start-ups — professional, non-shady ones with interesting business models — are bubbling up, eagerly raising funding from people like Mr. Birnbaum.
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