This Black Tech Founder Found Alternative Methods to Traditional Fundraising
There are a lot of challenges when starting a company, especially in the beginning. You have to engage in constant customer reviews and iterations because you want to bring the perfect product to market but, more importantly, you have to constantly fundraise to keep the company alive.
When Dan Miller, CEO of Level Therapy, a mobile app that provides access to psychologists, therapists, and counselors through video, voice, and text, found that traditional fundraising methods were not working, he decided to take a new course of action.
Black Enterprise recently caught up with Miller to find out where he is in his growth process. He filled us in on new product features and why he and his team have chosen an unorthodox fundraising strategy to finance their business and keep their product afloat.
What is the goal of Level Therapy?
Dan Miller: The goal of Level Therapy is to help the people that use our app to achieve mental fitness. Mental Fitness is a new category of mental health that we have created to allow anyone to take preventative measures in managing their mental health. We are dedicated to not only provide access to behavioral health professionals, but evidence based products that help patients proactively manage anxiety, depression, and other disorders.
Having Level Therapy on the market, what did you notice your customers’ needs were and when did you notice their needs shifting?
DM: Toward the end of last year, we noticed that customers who were not ready to speak to a therapist couldn’t really get a ton of value from our service. The vision has always been to arrive at the point where we can provide direct access to therapists and provide an amazing product to aid in treatment. After conducting a lot of research with the customers on our platform that were not ready to speak to a therapist, we learned that some of them needed to be introduced to some psychoeducation first—to become familiar with the process—but most wanted an option to engage in treatment at their own pace.User Interface (Image: Level Therapy)
Why did you decide to create a new feature set?
DM: We decided to create a new feature set because we recognized it was time to broaden the services we offer. We are doing a great job of matching people with clinicians, but it is time to start servicing the people that want to become mentally fit without working directly with a therapist.
Being founders of color, at what point did you notice it becoming increasingly difficult to raise funds?
DM: As this is the second company I have launched, I was already well aware of how difficult it was for a person of color to raise funds. Although Level Therapy is in a hot space, I knew we were going to be subjected to biases that would negatively impact us, so we began to explore other options that would allow us to hedge against those biases, use technology as a multiplier for our raise, and democratize the investment opportunity which is core to our company’s mission to democratize access to mental fitness. SeedInvest ended up being a great partner for us to achieve these goals.
Tell us about SeedInvest.
DM: SeedInvest is the world’s largest online equity crowdfunding platform. They were founded after the JOBS Act was passed, in an effort to increase the exposure of investment opportunities for privately held companies. We have partnered with them to raise a seed round.
If a consumer was interested in using your product, how would they go about doing so?
If a consumer was interested in investing in your product, how would they go about doing so?
DM: Anyone can invest in our product by checking out our campaign on SeedInvest, here.