We’re excited to announce the launch of Ikaria, a new communication platform that helps create richer personal relationships for a happier and longer life.
We chose the name “Ikaria” after the Greek island of Ikaria, where one third of the population lives past the age of 90, due in part to strong family and social ties between the Ikarian people.
Studies have shown that one of the best predictors of our wellbeing and happiness is the quality of our social connections. We’re consciously designing Ikaria in collaboration with psychologists, teachers, and mental health experts to improve the way we stay connected to each other in the age of technology.
If you’re interested in trying Ikaria, sign up for early access.
Developing meaningful relationships can protect against loneliness and lead to a longer life
Despite always being “connected” via technology, people today are the most disconnected they have ever been. Social media constructs like News Feed, Wall, Stories, Likes, and Followers have created an environment where we source our sense of belonging by accumulating attention. This dynamic is more akin to performing than actually connecting with other humans.
The data here is clear: A recent Cigna study found that 73% of Gen Z (18–22 year olds, notably the first generation to grow up with technology since day one) report “sometimes” or “always” feeling alone.
This is hard to hear, because we know loneliness can be prevented with a level of vulnerability, presence, self-disclosure, and reciprocity that the current social media constructs don’t allow for.
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” — Dr. Brené Brown, Sociologist
At Ikaria, we’re building a communication platform that will give people the tools and knowledge to experience the joy of meaningful relationships
In America, there’s an emerging social health movement that is manifesting a variety of forums and techniques — including Evryman, ManKind Project, Quilt, Authentic Relating, Circling, T-Groups, etc — for people to build, and practice building, quality relationships. Experiences like these are creating containers for people to safely develop their identity, find self-acceptance, and develop rich social ties that can protect them from loneliness.
Companies like Calm and Headspace are using technology to teach and help us develop a mindfulness practice that deepens our relationship with ourselves. These companies created an awareness of the mental health benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and we hope to create an awareness of the benefits of mindful relational practices.
Ikaria is taking a new approach to building social technology:
- Built for quality relationships
Our tools should cherish our relationships as much as we do. Instead of accumulating likes and followers, we are designing intimate and adaptive spaces that will help you get to know your loved ones, stay present with each other, and reflect your relationship back to you in meaningful ways.
- Designed for quality of life
Research has shown the negative impact of social media on mental health; however, we believe technology platforms can be designed thoughtfully to have the opposite effect. We’re working with psychologists, technologists, and mental health experts to ensure that our products cultivate a positive effect on mental health.
- Presence is the present
We want to create a two-way physical and emotional window between you and the people who matter most so you can feel more connected to the people—and not the technology.
- You are not the product
Many social media companies rely on advertising for nearly all of their revenue. When advertisers are the customer, their needs will always come before yours. We want to build a customer relationship directly with you and earn your trust and patronage by creating products that improve and help maintain your social and mental health.
- Your data is yours
Your conversations, relationships, and personal information belong to you and you should have complete control of your data. Since our products will never be ad-driven, we won’t need to sell your personal data for profit.
Want to get involved?
This problem is bigger than any one person. If you are a mental health expert, practitioner, therapist, coach, or part of an organization that’s working in this space, we’d love to bring your expertise into the products that we’re building. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please direct press inquires to email@example.com.
Get early access
We’d love to invite anyone who is interested in signing up for early access.
Ikaria is a Santa Monica (CA) based, venture-backed company founded by Chrys Bader, former co-founder of Secret (15M users, $36M in funding), and Sean Dadashi, an expert in social wellness. We are a team of six that all share a passion for authentic human connection, mental health, and technology.
We’re grateful to have the support of forward-looking investors like Initialized, Fuel Capital, F7 Ventures, Weekend Fund, Backend Capital, Day One Ventures, Shrug, Todd Goldberg, and Rahul Vohra.
To learn more, read our TechCrunch coverage.
Related Research, Articles & Citations
 Loneliness is on the rise and younger workers and social media users feel it most, 2020
 Association between Social Media Use and Depression among U.S. Young Adults, 2016
 New Cigna study reveals loneliness at epidemic levels in America, 2018
 The Attitudes and Digital Behaviors of Millenials, 2018
 The effects of text, audio, video, and in-person communication on bonding between friends, 2013
 District Survey shows how phones affect students’ mental health, 2019