The Many Reasons Organizations are Buying Mind-Training
Last week, I read the announcement that Happify Health, one of our portfolio companies, is partnering with Progyny, a leading fertility benefits provider. Happify Health is creating proprietary digital tools aimed at giving Progyny members some resources to manage stress, anxiety, and negative emotions associated with infertility and fertility treatments.
Then, I read an article about SAP’s employee mindfulness program, which is part of a broader push by the company to tackle stress and improve employee health. The article says SAP is getting a 200% ROI on their mindfulness program.
These are reminders of why various organizations are incorporating mind-training solutions. For entrepreneurs, if you have a great, engaging platform in this space and a good sales force, as well as the ability to customize for the needs of the customer, you have the opportunity to create a good business. There are so many ways in which people are using mind-training. Below, I’ve outlined some of the reasons organizations are buying these solutions.
- Sleep — Likely, one of the greatest needs organizations want to solve is sleep. Their employees are not getting enough of it and are not getting deep REM sleep that is so important for the brain’s functioning. Mindful Magazine reports that 80 million Americans have trouble falling asleep. Multiple mind-training companies are focusing on sleep solutions as lead products. A good example of this is Sleepio , which provides solutions to help employees sleep better. Other companies that provide mind-training put sleep solutions as part of a larger platform. Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global puts a major focus on selling sleep products and solutions to employers. She even wrote a book called The Sleep Revolution. The companies buying these solutions want their employees to sleep better, enabling better focus at work and maintaining higher energy levels throughout the day.
- Stress — One of the biggest reasons why organizations are adopting mind-training is to reduce stress. We live in stressful world. About 70% of doctors’ visits are related to stress. As the work world gets more stressful, with more distractions, employees are needing to find ways to better cope with higher levels of stress. Stress leads to burnout, poor performance, in some cases, anxiety or depression, and can also effect sleep.
- Improved performance — An obviousreason that organizations are buying mind-training solutions is to improve performance. And it’s not just for corporations. The NBA has partnered with Headspace. Organizations like the Oakland A’s, Manchester United, and the Atlanta Falcons, use a product called NeuroTracker, created by Cognisens. Muse has been used by several Olympians, golfers, and in football. Professional athletes are using brain-training platforms and mindfulness to increase focus, improve reaction times, and even work better as a unit.
- Health — Another reason organizations are buying mind-training solutions is to actually treat illnesses and conditions. Akili Labs just raised $55 million to help take their Project Evo game through the FDA for ADHD, and reports having a pipeline of indications for things like depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Pear Therapeutics has a host of mind-training programs used in combination with medications in the pipeline for FDA approval. There are companies like MedRthyms that pursuing FDA approval for a combination of music therapy and a wearable device to help people recovering from stroke, Traumatic Brain Injuries or Parkinson’s disease. These types of mind-training products will likely be offered by hospitals and insurance companies. For example, Magellan Health is piloting a program with Pear designed to measure clinical outcomes in patients with Substance Use Disorder, utilzing Pear’s reSET®, the first ever FDA cleared prescription digital therapeutic.
- Various Others — Some companies are using mind-training tools to improve safety, or to improve driver vigilance. Other organizations use mind-training platforms to help with patient experience, a reason Highmark brought in Cansurround. CanSurround is an online network that envelops cancer patients with a wealth of emotional support and encouragement as they confront the disease. Better listening, more empathy and compassion for fellow teammates, higher productivity, increased happiness, employee retention. Some use these types of programs to develop better emotional intelligence for customer support people, who become better abled to empathize with their callers. And then there’s TimeShifter, which is using mind-training to help travelers with jet lag. The list of use cases seems endless.
At the end of the day, most organizations are looking for a return on investment regardless of the reason why they bring in mind-training programs. I’ll never forget listening to Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, speak at Wisdom 2.0 NYC many years ago when he put up a slide saying they used eMindful to provide a course for their employees that saved $3,000 per employee per year who had taken the program. I took a picture of the slide he showed, went home and found the company, and did the due diligence that led to Bridge Builders Collaborative leading its Series A financing round for eMindful.
All of this makes me think that mind-training isn’t going away, and in fact, it seems that it has plenty of room for significant growth.