To make mental health exercise a daily routine, MindLabs received $1.82 million in financing
Ideally, mental health exercise should be treated as a daily exercise program like fitness. But even for fitness, maintaining daily exercise is difficult. MindLabs is trying to turn this extravagant hope into reality.
Today, MindLabs announced that it has received US$1.82 million in financing, led by Passion Capital, SeedCamp and several British consumer technology startups founders Alex Chesterman (Cazoo and Zoopla), Neil Hutchinson (Forward Internet Group), Steve Pankhurst (FriendsReunited), James Hind (Carwow) and Jack Tang (Urban) followed suit.
The epidemic has spawned new fields of use
MindLabs was founded by Adnan Ebrahim and Gabor Szedlak at the beginning of this year. The outbreak of the epidemic has brought challenges to people's mental health. In foreign countries, the downloads of meditation and mindfulness apps, such as Calm, Headspace and Relax (Master Your Destiny), are increasing. This cuts to a new scene: people try to use various methods at home to relieve stress and stay away from loneliness.
"I have to say that the epidemic is a change for MindLabs." Ebrahim said. For example, in order to alleviate the loneliness caused by isolation, many real-time community functions have been built on the APP. People can use these features to watch MindLabs videos at home.
"This model has worked well for the fitness industry. Peloton's explosive growth is a good example. We also see the same possibility in the field of mental health." Ebrahim added.
Peloton is a fitness company founded in the United States in 2012. Since its listing in 2019, its stock price has continued to rise. Since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States in March, it has more than six times since the end of the day. The highlight of its business model is to create a series of online courses such as yoga and exercises, and recommend suitable online courses according to the user's physical condition through smart fitness equipment, thereby forming a closed loop of linkage between software and hardware.
Online courses + offline equipment is innovation
Learning from Peloton, MindLabs has developed a model that is different from other mental health apps, that is, a combination of online courses and head-mounted brainwave sensors.
MindLabs will develop online video courses such as meditation and mindfulness training on the APP. Classes are not classified according to skills (such as meditation, breathing), but based on user needs, such as anxiety, relationship, or addiction. For example, meditation courses may include courses like "Overcoming pandemic anxiety" and "Coping with work anxiety". In addition, the community function is also fully used, and users can get positive feedback based on the responses of other users.
The head-mounted brainwave sensor called "Halo" is used to measure some indicators, such as heartbeat and breathing rate, and then feedback to the user. The founder Ebrahim said that the price of Halo should be similar to that of Apple Watch.
There are already some head-mounted brainwave sensors on the market, such as Muse and Emotiv. Halo is unique in that it helps users to visualize the data before, during and after the course, including brain waves, heart rate, muscle tension and other information, and save it in the APP for easy tracking at any time.
"Become daily" is the core barrier of products
Almost all mental health apps face a big challenge-user participation. When people feel stressed, anxious or busy, they often do not actively use it. When they feel better, they don't use it at all.
Ebrahim believes that this is an opportunity for MindLabs. Head-mounted brainwave sensors and data visualization functions will play an important role. "Despite the surge in the number of mental health apps, it turns out that retention is difficult. But we believe this is because these apps don't understand their users." He said.
MindLabs users can view the positive progress of their mental health through the displayed data, just as they view changes in weight. By cultivating habits and positive feedback, we can improve user stickiness and finally achieve a closed loop, thereby improving the user's mental health.
Participating in live classes also played an important role. "Take classes with thousands of people, it will give people a kind of strength, the effect is similar to a personal trainer in a gym, ensuring attendance and training volume." Ebrahim said.
Finally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, there are more than 350 million people suffering from depression in the world, and the number of patients has increased by about 18% in the past ten years. According to estimates, the number of pan-depressed people in China exceeds 95 million.
On September 11, the National Health Commission announced the "Working Plan for Exploring Special Services for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression", requiring high schools and institutions of higher learning to incorporate depression screening into the content of student health examinations. According to the report of " Jiangjie News ", this is the first time China has paid attention to the depressed group of colleges and universities from the institutional level.
According to a 2017 study by Block M and others in the SCI journal Front Hum Neurosci, people who tend to use the Internet, TV, and social media are often more prone to depression. With the popularity of the Internet in China, mental health issues seem to be an issue that cannot be bypassed. The blue ocean of domestic mental health application software is yet to be developed.
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