Ada Ventures has invested into the pre-seed round at SPOKE, a new mental health technology that uses music to access our brains in calming and uplifting ways. Sadly we are all seeing more and more instances of mental health issues in our communities, and so we’re particularly thrilled to have invested in a company that helps people suffering in this way.
SPOKE’s mobile app combines hip-hop/low-fi music with guided meditation that is a more accessible way to meditate or take time out. Calm and Headspace have created this market, and now companies like SPOKE are appealing to a younger consumer. SPOKE’s tracks and sessions are rooted in neuroscience — beats and lyrics that are scientifically proven to improve wellbeing.
We first met SPOKE Co-founder and CEO, Ariana at A Capital for Enterprise Female Founders event in February 2020, right before the first lock-down, so yet again its thanks to the one and only John Spindler and his team that we are (18 months later!) investors in this remarkable company. Ada’s Angel, Anjel Noorbakhsh Ashman angel invested (lots of angels!) earlier in the year as well.
Why does SPOKE fit the Ada thesis and what got us excited?
- This is a “hair on fire problem”. Many of us, sadly, are struggling or know others that are. The statistics for male suicide in the UK are particularly concerning but the issues of depression, addiction and low self-esteem are all too prevalent as I’m sure everyone reading this can attest to. At Ada, we are putting our capital to work for positive social impact where we believe the greatest financial returns lie. Our investment in SPOKE epitomises this and we can see mental health being the physical health of the last few years.
- SPOKE’s target customer is UNDERSERVED. Calm and Headspace have done amazing things, and were totally underestimated as businesses themselves. They have created a category. However, their offerings don’t resonate with all consumers. These businesses’ users are 80% women, 95% aged over 25 and 40% earn over £100K. As an example, 10M men churned from Calm and Headspace in 2020. In the words of a SPOKE user — “I want to look after my mental health but I don’t relate to yoga culture.” We see an enormous second-wave market for mental wellbeing apps, with SPOKE leading the charge.
- The team is committed to building product the right way. From our early interactions with Ariana’s co-founder Michael, it was obvious that he is an incredible product guy. SPOKE is being built with the consumer’s needs completely front and centre. The product is still in beta and they are not looking to optimise for vanity metrics and growth at all costs until the retention and usage data shows that they have product-market fit for this previously under-valued user group. The early data from the beta users shows that this is already the case with a small dataset. Watch this space as the users grow…