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Our Investment in Dawn Health

We spend a third of our lives sleeping (or attempting to do so!): it is our most common activity. And 20% of us — 70 million Americans — struggling with it. This is an incredible combination of statistics.

You know when you haven’t been sleeping well for a while, and you finish dinner, and start passively worrying about sleep — a worry that sometimes develops into full-blown anxiety by the time you actually settle into bed? Perhaps you don’t, but many do. In fact, up to 40 million Americans may be in this camp.

And not sleeping well doesn’t simply affect sleep. Here is a non-exhaustive list of medically confirmed co-morbidities with sleep loss: Cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestianl, urinary, neurological disorders. Chronic pain and diabetes. Restless leg syndrome. Kidney disease. Autoimmune disease. Central nervous system diseases.

TL;DR — sleep is tied to everything.

There are a number of companies working on sleep. Most of them offer diagnostics to track factors associated with sleep: heart-rate variability, breathing, diet, even neurological functions. Diagnostics are incredibly important. But diagnostics don’t change behavior: they simply measure it. And if you suffer from sleep anxiety, what could be worse than checking all your monitors and counters right before you sleep, or right after you wake up? We started looking, as a result, for therapeutics — for behavior change applications. Enter Dawn.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been in use across the mental health space to help patients with anxiety, PTSD, OCD, eating disorders, and beyond. CBTi (for insomnia!) focuses this method expressly on sleep, and has been in use for coaching patients with insomnia, sleep anxiety, and other sleep disorders. A systematic review of 48 clinical trials showed 70–80% of patients who did CBTi showed improvement in their sleep! But it has never been accelerated with software. Dawn uses a hybrid digital-coach solution to scale CBTI through a mobile application.

The team comes from CBTi, but also from software. Diagnostics and great user experience matters deeply, too. Rahul, Varun, and Andreas impressed us with their mix of personal attachment to the problem (all startup founders need to sleep more), experience building consumer software at Yahoo, Microsoft, serving businesses with messaging technology at Intercom.

We are thrilled to lead their first round of financing. I have already been a Dawn beta customer, and after I have my second child this year, I’m certain I will need to be a Dawn customer again…

Learn more about the product here: https://www.dawn.health/

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Kanyi Maqubela

Kanyi Maqubela

managing partner, kindred ventures. lover, not-fighter.