We all get nervous about the future from time to time. However, many peoples' thoughts and experiences regularly cause them to feel nervous and fear social interaction; they experience a condition known as social anxiety. What better way for anxiety sufferers to seek help than from the comfort of their own home?
Startup Learn To Live provides online treatment for those dealing with social anxiety. As patients have more and more trouble scheduling mental health care due to a shortage of appropriate specialists, Learn To Live provides a confidential service that is accessible anywhere, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Drawing on years of research showing that CBT programs are as effective as face-to-face therapy, Learn To Live provides an interactive, personalized interface to gives anxiety sufferers help on their own schedule, wherever they please. To get a better idea of what drives Learn To Live before their appearance at Beta.MN 2.0, we spoke to CEO and co-founder Dale Cook.
Q: Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
Dr. Russ Morfitt (co-founder) and I were troubled by the number of people suffering from treatable mental health problems who weren’t receiving face-to-face therapy. In fact, 3 out of 4 people in the U.S. who suffer from a mental health problem (114M) won’t ever see a therapist due to social stigma, cost, or lack of access. Based on his 20+ years of private practice, Russ was aware of the 10 years of strong clinical research showing that online therapy (or “online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”) was as effective as face-to-face therapy for treating these problems. So we started a company whose mission is to provide high-fidelity mental health treatment online to those who are suffering and won’t ever see a therapist. Now, a few years later, we have three programs in the market (for Depression, Stress, Anxiety and Worry, and Social Anxiety), and we’re seeing exciting traction with individual consumers and business customers such as employers, insurance companies, healthcare providers, and well-being companies. Our outcomes are on par with the gold-standard research that’s been done. And most importantly, lives are being changed all over the country – which inspires our team of 7 to keep pushing this mission forward!
Q: What's your most recent success or milestone hit?
We just launched our second and third programs, and the response has been overwhelming. We’re seeing individual consumers signing up—and large employers and insurance companies are actually approaching us to sign contracts for 2015. We have more requests for contracts right now than resources to deliver them. We’re also in the process of closing a meaningful round of funding that will enable to us hit some exciting growth milestones this year and respond to the demand we’re seeing.
Q: Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
We plan to have doubled the number of programs we offer and hope to have established at least four national strategic partnerships. While these partnerships will most likely be through large healthcare insurers and healthcare providers, they may also include some very progressive well-being companies who understand the potential of improving health outcomes and lowering costs by offering high-fidelity online programs like ours. And we expect to be very close to cash flow positive by then!