Masawa Minute 50
Post-COP26 Masawa Special | Let’s meet in London! | + More!
Welcome to the Masawa Minute — mental wellness, social impact, and impact investing snippets from what we’ve read the last two weeks + where you can get active.
It’s our 50th Masawa Minute! Where did the time go? To mark the occasion, we introduce to you a slightly updated format of your favorite newsletter (ha!) — tell us what you think!
The holiday season is revving up, while in many places, COVID cases are, too. The end of the year is also increasing the pressure to finish things up. There’s much increased climate angst on the back of COP26.
The stress can be intense. We feel it too, and we’re trying to keep three important words present in our day-to-day: breath, sleep, be.
Meet the UK-based digital therapy startup ieso, which just announced a $53 million Series B round this week. The funds are going to go towards creating more intuitive autonomous text therapy for all. Ieso has been around for around 10 years now, running a text-based therapy service (provided by human therapists). Ultimately, however, they seek to move away from this to function as a completely autonomous AI-based therapy system.
While the idea isn’t new, the thing that sets ieso apart is their approach, or, rather, the data behind it. The company has 10 years’ worth of anonymized text conversations between therapists and clients, which, paired with real-time data on their clinical outcomes is an extremely valuable resource. The data set, which some investors have called “unprecedented”, is definitely among the reasons why we might see this company doing well in the future.
To those of you in London, we have exciting news — after the great success of our first meetup in Berlin, we’re moving on to England’s vibrant capital. The meetup for mental health and mental wellness innovators and enthusiasts will take place on December 6th. The capacity is limited, so register now! We can only solve the mental health crisis if we work across sectors and silos — be there and spread the word.
We have a great podcast recommendation for you today! Masawa’s Founder and Managing Partner Joshua Haynes joined The Future Farm’s NAKED podcast for an open conversation about his mental health journey, strategies for maintaining wellbeing, and running a mental health business. It’s definitely worth a listen 😊
This Week’s Story
Masawa Special: Mental wellness must become part of climate crisis response
Nearly two weeks have passed since the end of COP26. We received some good news, like four Latin American countries launching an initiative to create a vast marine protected area or $1.7 billion pledged to indigenous communities in recognition of their key role in protecting the planet’s lands and forests. But we also were left with a realization that we can’t rely on pledges and international politics alone to save us from the threats of a warming climate. Transformative change has to start with ourselves — but for us to start healing collectively, we have to start healing individually first.
Mental wellness is a fundamental part of learning to cope and being able to successfully adapt to the inevitable changes brought about by the heating planet. It’s also deeply intertwined with the process of restoring our severed connections with ourselves and our surroundings. Only once we center our lives around wellness, we’ll be able to draw from it to find strength in the face of environmental change and use it as sustenance for our transformative action.
What else we’re reading…
🍀 Collective impact must commit to centering equity — without it, we risk reinforcing, instead of eliminating, the inequalities from which stem the challenges we’re aiming to solve. What are the steps to take to make progress in transforming collective impact?
🌊 75% of Gen Z is struggling with their emotional wellbeing. Luckily, there’s a new startup that wants to help. Wave, which just closed a $2 million pre-seed round, is focusing on measurable outcomes and aiming for tangible results in their quest to help young adults. We’re excited to see their launch next year!
🌬 Do you know the feeling of being unable to focus no matter how hard you try? There’s a chance that it’s not you, it’s air pollution. A new study shows that the effects of air pollution are largest for people under 50, with even short-term exposure to pollution affecting their brain performance and capacity to work.
🪴 Impact investment is now in its “third act” — it’s time for talk about financial instruments to be replaced by conversations about the issues. This was among the thoughts expressed in last week’s Investors for Impact forum hosted by EVPA. Some investors, however, understand “third-act” differently.
🌟 Have you ever wondered what energy is, and why do you seem to lack it all the time? If so, prepare to have a lot of your energy and wellbeing-related questions answered (or at least raised) in this think piece from The New Yorker.
Gabija works as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Masawa. She lets her vision of a more just, sustainable, equitable world guide Masawa’s story and inform the work towards transforming global mental wellness to make it accessible and accepted.