Why mental health is about everyone. And why we started Pace.

Jack Chou
Published in
3 min readJan 13, 2021


Today I’m sharing a little about our young company Pace (http://pace.group) as we announce our public beta, and look to bring people together to work on their mental and emotional health, wherever they are.

Pace is unlocking emotional connection together. We’re redefining mental health through groups that are effective, but also fun, social, and challenging. And we’re doing it with thoughtful software and world-class emotional health experts.

Everyone Is Going Through Something

My own emotional health felt like the ultimate first-world problem. After all, I was a well-paid executive at a high-flying startup, living in beautiful San Francisco, and working on a product that I loved. And we had just had our first child as well (the light of our lives!). Complaining about how I was feeling and investing in my own mental health felt like such luxuries.

If there was stress, it was a “good problem to have.” If I felt worn out, it was just something that I’d need to “work harder at.” Stay up later. Wake up early to help feed the baby. Head to the office around 5:30am to get more done before the day. Honestly, if I felt anything at all, my response was to bury it in the mountain of effort coming up next.

But everyone is going through something, even (and especially) if they don’t think it’s a problem. No one had any idea that I was going through a lot at that time.

I’ll never forget standing outside of a dear friend’s wedding on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Half Moon Bay. Instead of celebrating inside, I was on the phone with my HR Business Partner talking about a personnel issue and, as I hung up the phone and looked around, I realized how little control I felt over my own life. I’d let every part of my life (work, social, and family) blend together uncontrollably. For the first time in my life, I felt overwhelmed.

I knew then that something had to change, but I still couldn’t imagine looking for help. It just wasn’t in me to do so. And it came pretty close to breaking me.

I think a lot now about how dangerous that time was in my life, and how dumb it was for me to grin and bear it because of my own pride.

That’s why we started Pace: to help make working on your own mental and emotional health totally… normal. And effective. And challenging. And maybe a bit social (and fun 😳)?

The Bigger Picture

There’s been a lot written about the mental health epidemic in America and it is definitely real. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 2 in 10 Americans have a mental health illness today.

While that’s shocking and true, it’s actually not the whole story because 7 in 10 Americans report feeling lonely, isolated, disconnected, and not understood.

The difference in those numbers means that up to half of Americans have an emotional and mental health need, but may not think that they need help. That it’s too costly. That it’s inconvenient. And, like me back then, that working on one’s mental health “ain’t for me”.

We hope that Pace can be an answer to all of those objections, and that your Pace Group becomes as normal a part of your life as a weekend group fitness class or a Thursday date night with your partner.

Thank You

We know Pace is going to be a long journey and are fortunate to have friends and family who are also mission-driven investors. Thank you to our angel investors, including Nellie and Max Levchin, Jeff Weiner, Emilie Choi, Ben Silbermann, Natalie Fair, Brianne Kimmel, SV Angel, and Box Group.

At Pace we believe mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. We’re excited to see what change groups can make in mental health.




Jack Chou

CEO/Cofounder at Pace. Formerly: Chief Product Officer at Affirm, Head of Product at Pinterest, early product leader at LinkedIn. Lucky husband of Ivy and fathe