nilo.health provides high-quality, personalised and on-demand mental health support for entire workforces. Founded in 2019 by Ines Räth, Catalina Turlea and Jonas Keil, nilo.health is a B2B service enabling employers to offer easily accessible high quality mental health support as a company benefit. nilo.health currently serves clients globally, including the likes of Oatly, TIER Moblity, SoundCloud, Scholz & Friends and Vattenfall.
We’re excited to be sitting down Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Ines Räth, to shine a spotlight on nilo.health’s journey so far.
Share the story of nilo.health / how did it come into fruition?
We began looking into the topic of mental health a few years ago after experiencing people in our social groups suffering from mental health issues. For me, it was a friend suffering from depression and anxiety. This was the first time I realised, a) how hard it is still for people to seek mental health support, because of the stigmas associated with it and the barriers we have in our healthcare systems, and b), just how long it takes for people to recover when they’re already in a bad place.
We didn’t have a concrete product of business model in mind when we first began, but we were unified in our belief that working on mental health should be something that is easily accessible to all and that it should be available as a preventative measure as well as a support for those in need.
We were looking at different angles to improve accessibility to mental health support and giving people early access to care.
B2b is a great way to destigmatise menetal health care. Having your company pay for the platform is a huge benefit for employees and knocks down a lot of barriers to accessibility as help can be there straight away, whenever it’s needed. On the other hand, the company benefits from more resilient and higher-performing employees.
What has been the hardest lesson learned so far?
One of the hardest things in the beginning was getting our first customer. After that, finding new customers gets easier, as you have a reference company to use. However, we later learned that if you want to move over to another market, you almost have to start anew because their internal processes are very different, and the references you’ve built up so far may not apply to other markets.
I think another hard lesson is how tough hiring is, and more specifically and just how important great hiring is in the context of your business goals.
You need to know how to find the right person for the right role for the specific place the company is in.
What has been the biggest surprise so far?
There are always surprise! I’ve found that once you get the feeling that things are working smoothly and progressing well — there’s often something coming around the corner that will need attention. That’s not to say you should be dreading the next problem to arise, but that you should try to be open to whatever changes are on the way. This can be an internal change or a macro change.
Covid hitting early on was one of the biggest surprises to us. While it initially made things difficult, in the long term it eventually helped to bring more awareness to the topic of mental health.
What advice would you offer other growth companies about financing their business?
Always remember, whatever path you take from the beginning will define your choices later. Consider all your options — a lot of start-ups tend to assume there is only the VC route in the beginning, but that’s not necessarily true, so make sure you fully consider what going down the VC route will mean for your business.
Try to stay one step ahead in understanding exactly what is needed for your next funding round. What are the milestones or expectations that the next stage of investors may have? These may not always be connected to revenue, they may be linked to market expansion or product development, but be sure to view these milestones as things that need to be proactively managed to be achieved.
Finally, it can be surprising realising how time consuming fundraising is. The time and focus needed from the founded team is often underestimated and it can be tricky to balance this process alongside running your business. So, it’s really important to fully understand what you need.
What is nilo.health’s biggest achievement so far?
I think our biggest achievement is making care and support accessible to those who are struggling.
This year we’ve invested a lot in scientific research and it’s been incredible to see how we’re able to help people using our service in black and white.