Now&Me, a digital-tech and mental based startup raised $1million in seed funding
Has someone ever laughed and ignored you, when you actually wanted to talk to them about your depression, stress and anxiety? If yes, you no longer need to embarrass yourself in front of such people. This Delhi based, mental health startup, is ready to offer its shoulder and hold your back.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of each individual is affected in some or another way. Be it the decline of share price, losing job, financial problems, losing opportunities due to lockdowns or not being able to attend online classes due to expensive data packs and many more, You&Me will listen to you at every stage. It is crystal clear that external help is often required while suffering from mental health issues.
Now&Me is the brainchild of Bani Singh, Drishti Gupta and Nitesh Kumar Niranjan which is operating on how people take mental health globally, via free-to-use community platform. The startup raised $1 million in a seed funding round led by Saama Capital and Whiteboard Capital. The girls founded the startup in 2019 and developed the prototype of the product. Later on, Nitesh Kumar Niranjan joined them as a tech co-founder.
"Since the inauguration of You&Me, the goal has been to build a safe community for people, which is why our services aren’t monetised. Our aim is to become a platform that helps people find a mental health solution that caters to their needs." Co-founders shared in the interview.
"While we were preparing for our final semester in Lady Shri Ram College in 2019, Drishti and I observed and discussed, amidst the pandemic there is the non-availability of a safe space online where they are allowed to be the real selves. A safe online space is the need of the hour to have an open concept about their mental health." Bani Singh shared.
They turned their intangible idea into tangible reality with a small but great initiative. They created Now&Me, a peer-to-peer community support network for people to feel better during tough times. "We launched the website and social media pages in 2020 and some of our very first users were our college mates, friends, and people we knew through second or third connections." The girls shared in an interview.
With the advent of noble Coronavirus, the mental health of people was miserably disturbed. In the pandemic, they received a lot of DMs who were looking for a therapist. Since the company is digital and technology based, their work wasn't affected. Moreover, with the work from home situation, they were able to cut expenses.
The big huddle was to identify methods for bridging the gap between the requirement of professional mental health for people and the impotence of people due to lack of awareness or social stigma. To kick off their idea, the girls created and arranged Q&As, social media lives, and classes with professionals for the followers.
"Then we started rolling out our app, merchandise, exploring some interesting tie-ups, and organising activities to keep the community engaged and inspired." The girls shared. In 2020, they found Nitesh Kumar Niranjan and he collaborated with girls as a tech co-founder.
In a press statement shared by the start-up, the founders unitedly said, “Mental Health concerns affect almost 1 billion people globally. Tackling a problem as colossal as that required us to go where no one had ever even thought of going before. In fact, Now&Me has, and continues to be an instrumental solution to the rising mental health concerns, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The company works on a motive to provide a support network platform. On this platform, you can come and discuss your problems, issues and concerns without any fear of judgement. It provides a safe space for all the users and all the conversations are kept confidential. In this confidential space, you are allowed to find and accept your feelings and talk about them openly.
The platform even gives you access to share your feelings anonymously. It makes a network of people and gives you the option to share and talk to people from all over the world who have faced or gone through the same problem.
Anshu Prasher, Whiteboard Capital, said, "Though the last year has brought a lot of attention to mental health issues, most of the conversation around mental health has been centred around specialist help or support groups which is typically a sign of serious underlying conditions."
He added, "At Now&Me, Drishti and Bani are working towards normalising peer group conversations around mental health at a much earlier stage by building a safe, open and free community hopefully helping people share without any fear of being judged. We are excited to be a part of this mission to help reduce serious mental health issues and wish the team luck on their journey ahead."
The startup is planning to use this fund to onboard highly passionate individuals to their team, who want to change the mental health landscape. They also said that the startup will be expanding its engineering, design, and product growth teams with a strong focus on community-building efforts.
Ash Lilani, Saama Capital said, "There is growing awareness about the importance of mental health. Especially in the backdrop of the pandemic, it is increasingly being treated with the same level of importance that has been accorded to physical health conventionally. Now&Me’s community-led model of care and support is a unique and different approach. We are excited by the traction shown by the company and are impressed by the passion demonstrated by the founders."