MindLabs gets $3.5M seed to make mental wellness engaging

Making sure mental wellness is part of your routine can be difficult, especially if you are already busy and stressed. MindLabs wants to make it easier with a combination of on-demand or live video classes and community features. The company announced today it has raised a $3.5 million seed round, almost eleven months after its pre-seed funding.

The seed round was led by PROFounders Capital, with participation from Slack Fund; Sky executive chairman and former chief executive officer Jeremy Darroch; and returning investors Passion Capital and Seedcamp. The timing of the announcement comes three days before World Mental Health Day on October 10, to raise awareness of mental health issues and increase access to care.

The new funding will be used to hire for MindLabs’ product and engineering, content and market as it prepares for its public launch next year.

MindLabs was founded last year by Adnan Ebrahim and Gabor Szedlak, who previously launched and ran CarThrottle, an automotive site and community that was acquired by Dennis Publishing in 2019. When TechCrunch first talked to the founders last year, they said they decided to focus on mental health for their next startup because of the rapid increase in depression, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past year, MindLabs has hired leaders for its engineering, production and marketing teams, and built out its beta app, which now has 16 instructors. The startup’s platform is slated for a public launch in the first quarter of 2022. Ebrahim told TechCrunch that MindLabs currently has thousands of users on its waitlist, thanks in part to the growth of its Instagram account, which has almost 60,000 followers.

MindLabs will be available first in the United Kingdom, before launching in the United States. Ebrahim says it plans to expand into non-English speaking countries, since the team believes the platform is easily translatable.

Its app now has over 100 on-demand videos created by mental wellness, psychology and neuroscience professionals, and will also host daily live videos classes from its studio in West London. One of its instructors is Richie Bostock, aka The Breath Guy, who is a meditation and breath-work expert. Community features were built in, partially in response to the isolation people have experienced during the pandemic.

MindLabs also eventually plans to release hardware, like an EEG headband, to track health indicators. Ebrahim said MindLabs is launching with an app-first strategy before moving into wearables, with affordable subscription plans for classes so they can reach as many people as possible.

“We’re still extremely excited about tracking biomarkers of the mind, such as EEG, heart rate and breathing patterns, through existing and our own wearables,” he said. “We believe this will help us build a more accurate, real-time picture of how our users feel, and therefore be able to serve them with the most relevant video classes to help improve their mood.”