As the future of work develops around us, it is a time to reflect on how we continue to care for ourselves, families, friends, and work teams. Lately, we have seen articles addressing how burnout impacts the workplace, and on the flip side, how workplace authenticity and intentional culture can improve mental health for employees.
Both subjects have merit, and are part of a larger conversation around what role workplaces have in being invested in the mental health of their employees. In this post, we thought it would be fitting to focus on startups, local and otherwise, who take mental health and wellness seriously.
According to data analysts at Statista, the global market for health and wellness will be valued at $6 Trillion USD by 2025. This represents phenomenal growth in a sector that was popular before the pandemic, and has exploded since. During 2021’s record-breaking year of venture capital funding, there was an exciting shift towards investing in early-stage wellness technology companies.
As consumers become more health-conscious, they continue to invest time and money into products that help them be more intentional about their overall well-being, including their mental health. This is to say both consumers and investors have a growing interest in companies that are mission-driven by aiming to improve the lives of their users.
From wearables that share detailed health tracking information to platforms that increase accessibility to connect with mental health professionals, enjoy this list of rising tech startups that are bringing technology to mental health and wellbeing!
A Denver startup darling, SonderMind was founded in 2015 and set out to make mental health care more accessible by matching therapy-seekers with local therapists that suit their specific needs. Their platform combines important pieces of information, like whether or not a therapist accepts insurance, which insurance providers they accept, where therapists are located in relation to patients, and more, that can otherwise be challenging to find.
Toting a $1B valuation, SonderMind is a new tech unicorn after raising a $150 million Series C financing round today that was co-led by new investors Drive Capital and Premji Invest, among others.
Strava is one of the most widely known exercise tracking apps, with an emphasis on community and connection through exercise. With an intuitive platform and mobile experience, Strava’s goal is to help exercise and outdoor enthusiasts connect with others, start groups, as well as share workouts to track progress overtime. However you get around, biking, running, walking, Strava is there to track your activity and keep you motivated. Strava is also another tech wellness unicorn that recently closed a Series F round of financing in 2021.
With Olympic superstar Simone Biles as its main spokesperson, Cerebral is making the news as a new telemedicine startup that specializes in online care and drug management for those with anxiety and depression. After starting the program, 82% of users reported reduced anxiety, and 75% of patients reported improvement in their depression after just 60 days.
Valued at $4.8B USD, the mental health company has grown massively since its inception in 2019. Their goal is to normalize and streamline mental health care by having services and medication delivery at your fingertips when using their mobile app.
If you want to get fit, but yoga is more your speed, this one’s for you. Boasting 10 million users globally, Asana Rebel offers a lifestyle app that combines personalized workouts with food plans and other types of content. Started in Berlin in 2015, they are still exploding from a growth perspective, and have grown 433% over five years. The company was founded to bring the scientific and fitness benefits to a yoga-based app with a less heavy emphasis on spirituality and meditation.
Founded in 2008, Noom has seen 459% growth over the last five years. A digital wellness platform, Noom provides content and online coaching to help users manage their diet and health. Noom is also recognized as the first mobile solution for diabetes prevention. What makes the program unique is its focus on understanding our own psychology how to alter our behavior. 78% of people using Noom successfully lost weight, and its focus on human psychology brings a unique value add that will enable the company to continue growing and scaling.
Founded in Denver in 2018, Manatee is bringing a new approach to holistic family mental health. Nearly 80% of children in the US who need mental health services do not have access to traditional systems, and Manatee is trying to change that. Using AI-based therapy and collaborative treatment, 90% of Manatee families see clinical improvement with their struggles after 6 weeks.
They focus on bringing families together, specifically helping kids navigate challenges and achieve their goals using modern technology. With daily activities, messages, and virtual sessions, this unique mental health startup was on BuiltIn CO’s Top 50 Startups to Watch List in 2020.
A tech wellness unicorn from Finland, the Oura Ring website states that they are on a mission to “empower every person to own their inner potential.” They believe this is achieved through a better understanding of our bodies, and have helped thousands of people improve their sleep and transform their health via their wearable health tracking device. It’s a fast-growing startup that tracks your sleep and activity via a ring that is connected to a mobile app. Utilizing 24/7 heart rate monitoring and 7 temperature sensors, plus other tiny tech, the Oura Ring provides users with daily insights and scores on sleep, activity, and readiness.
While not a tech startup, this final local organization is worth covering because it has offered mental health support to the people of Denver since 1989, and is currently going through an exciting transformation. Meet the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD). Known nationally for “innovative and effective care,” it has provided more behavioral healthcare services in Colorado than any other organization in the State.
Colorado Biz Magazine recently interviewed Dr. Carl Clark, President & CEO of the MHCD, now WellPower, to learn more about the company’s re-branding and the why behind it. To start, reports of anxiety and depression are up 25% globally within the last year. In the US, 1 in 5 people experience mental health challenges in any given year, yet only 40% of people who need help actually seek it. These are only some of the factors that lead the MHCD in their decision to rebrand in order to better serve the people of Denver and Colorado.
As Clark describes, “We embarked on an initiative to update the way we represent who we are — not only our values and approach to service delivery, but the role we hope to have in people’s journeys toward better well-being…We recognize this moment as an inflection point in the way our society embraces mental health. To more fully embody our identity, and ‘open the door wider’ for more people in Denver, we are changing our name and updating our brand.”
The name WellPower promotes the vital connection between a person’s mental health and overall well-being. It also coincides with operational changes to help us better serve a new Denver, so very different from the Mile High City of 30 years ago. At WellPower, we do not give up on people or turn them away from services. We are creating new ways to connect with and meet people where they are.”
Some of their new initiatives include TherapyDirect, a new virtual counseling service that helps individuals with urgent mental health needs get connected to professionals and peer-based support experts. They also nurture 242 community partnerships across Denver Metro and the Front Range to make mental health services more accessible for all Coloradans.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you can get started using the resources on this page from Mental Health America, or find more mental health resources specifically in the State of Colorado here.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!