You’ve heard the startling statistics: 20 Veterans a day commit suicide. PTSD is not limited to just Veterans either, in fact, 8 million of us struggle with it every year. In total, 52 million Americans fight a battle with anxiety-related disorders annually.
Think about what’s really at stake. Lives, for one.
Happiness. Families. Relationships. Even our daily productivity.
The good news? A stigma is shrinking and a shift in public opinion is occurring.
Non-profit organizations like Objective Zero and One Fight Foundation are paving the way for much needed mental health resources for the military and Veterans. Celebrities are speaking up and taking action — take Demi Lovato, a Partner of the CAST Centers.
Technology like Headspace and eMindful are making meditation more accessible and scalable. Data from throughout the mental health ecosystem is being analyzed at unprecedented scales by companies such as Quartet and Google’s Verily. Companies are finally investing in corporate mental wellness. Schools are adopting mindfulness programs.
The venture world is noticing, too. CB Insights reported that in 2017 VCs invested nearly $200 million in mental health, up from $61 million in 2014.
My Veteran connection and military background drove my passion for founding the digital health company, NeuroFlow, which offers providers an objective tool to track, assess, and engage patients throughout mental health treatment.
Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in this process. I was fortunate to partner with Adam Pardes, a smart and driven co-founder from the University of Pennsylvania’s bioengineering program. Together, we sought to surround ourselves with mental health professionals, renowned neuroscientists and engineers — all aimed at creating a resource to support providers and patients.
With research in hand, a team assembled, and version one of the product built, what changed our trajectory? A key injection of capital from investors that believed in our mission and the impact technology could have. NeuroFlow closed a $1.25 million seed round in the fall of last year.
Perhaps it’s no surprise given my personal Veteran connection and mission to build social value, but half of our investor group are Veterans. Half. That’s not a typo. The round was led by Army Veteran Wayne Tamarelli of the Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network as well as Vietnam Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, Larry Liss of GAP International. U.S. Marine, Bob Ciarufolli, founding member of Broad Street Angels, invested. West Point graduates, Sean Drake of Stony Lonesome Group and COL (R) Brian Sperling both too were compelled to help drive the mission forward.
Wayne Tamarelli, a former Army Engineer and successful entrepreneur himself affirmed that “we owe our Veterans, first responders, and fellow citizens the use of innovative technologies for mental health.”
I am immensely honored to have all our investors, advisors, and employees — each have supported the company and its goals in various ways and want to help make a difference. To have such a strong cohort of accomplished Veterans stand behind our technology and the psychologists, counselors, therapists and social workers it supports is certainly not a coincidence. Furthermore, I believe it is reflective of the type of company we have strived to create — a company founded in service and driven to positively impact.
After six months of beta testing in over two dozen clinics around the country, our technology is helping to empower patients and providers, and is gearing up for a full commercial launch beginning of March 2018. We were recently chosen as the 2018 Psych Congress’s most impactful mental health technology.
One psychiatric professional said, “This is going to change the way I practice. I’ve never seen something so comprehensive for psychology.”
My reason for joining the Army was service to the country. Similarly, my mission now, and that of our investors and the growing team of 15 employees is to make a positive change and improve lives around the country.