A Melbourne startup hoping to build a mental health app to help people clear their heads has raised $800,000 despite being at least 9 months away from releasing a product.
Named Modo, the startup is backed by Archangel Ventures, Black Sheep Capital, Co Ventures, Giant Leap Fund, the female founder-focused Alice Anderson Fund, and founders of Culture Amp and Seer.
Modo was co-founded by academic Dr. Soukayna Bekkali with serial tech execs Maria Sereno, Jo Montanari and Peter Haasz. They hope to provide early access to the app to selected users by the end of the year.
Sereno said the app will be like “Marie Kondo to your mind,” with plans to launch it with individual subscriptions in early 2024.
“It is designed to help people who feel overwhelmed, mentally stressed, emotionally exhausted or out of control,” said Modo’s chief product officer.
Dr. Bekkali is a cognitive neuroscientist and was a lab manager in the department of cognitive neuroscience at Deakin University, leaving that for the life of a startup as the startup’s chief science officer.
She helps develop the app so that it is a kind of digital card game designed to help users build healthy mental habits to improve their mental well-being and productivity.
“While neurocognitive techniques can greatly improve cognitive control, individuals often struggle to apply them consistently and effectively in everyday life,” she said.
Archangel Ventures co-founder Quentin Wallace knows Haasz and Montanari from their collaboration at Culture Amp.
“I jumped at the chance to work with the modo team on their mission to build a category-defining product and solve one of modern life’s biggest problems: how do I achieve my most important goals without compromising my sanity to ruin?” he said.
Daniel Gavel, director of Black Sheep Capital, said Modo’s focus on tackling avoidable stress by changing unhelpful thinking styles resonated deeply with his team.
“We are well aware of the long-term effects of stress and actively try to manage our stress levels. We are delighted to support modo’s experienced and diverse team in tackling such a challenging problem,” he said.