A global economic crisis may not be the best time to launch a new business. However, it is a time where global mental health is taking a huge hit.
The Origins of Real
When Ariela Safira came up with Real, a New-York based mental health startup, she did not predict that she would have to launch earlier than expected. The basis of the start-up came from a recognition of the current mental health system and its limitations. Coming from sociological, psychological, legal and financial viewpoints, Safira wanted Real to offer a holistic, long-term and affordable solution.
Mental Health During a Crisis
Many people have sought out help for mental health during the pandemic. From stress to loneliness to heightened anxiety, there has been a lot to cope with. Real’s early advance was well-timed. The new digital platform was designed to offer one-to-one sessions in addition to themed support sessions. These included topics such as “Pregnant in a Pandemic” and “Relationships in a Time of Quarantine”.
Agility of Business Model
Like many entrepreneurs, Safira had to adapt her business to keep up with Coronavirus. Luckily for her, therapy was a service that was widely needed. The original business model involved a physical mental health studio opening in April. Due to the pandemic, this quickly turned into a digital platform. In a bold move, after launching earlier than expected, Safira decided to offer the digital services for free for the first month. The mentality behind this was capturing the client first and then thinking about capital.
Gwyneth Paltrow Investment
Real and its story have captured the attention of many, including wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow. The actress is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world, having founded wellness and lifestyle brand Goop. Now Real has closed a $6 million round of funding backed by Forerunner Ventures and including Paltrow.
Post-COVID World and Mental Health
People are starting to take their mental health more seriously. During the pandemic there has been a rise in online therapy solutions as well as more awareness. This bodes well for Real as we come out of isolation as it suggests that the demand will be high. With the captured clientele and the multi-million dollar funding, Real should go from strength to strength.