Hi friends! Chris here! So excited to share Shimmer’s participation in Y Combinator's summer cohort of 2021!
The most common mental health solution is therapy. But the process is super hard, therapists are NOT accessible and it is nearly impossible to find the right one. It’s expensive ($150/session), has significant churn (40% drop off after first visit), and lacks diverse representation (average age of 51 and 80% white). A lot of other people have had this experience, and there needs to be a level below therapy that is more accessible, widely available, and responsive to people’s unique needs.
At the beginning of this year, Jon, Vik and I found ourselves severely affected (and frustrated) by these issues with our current mental healthcare system, having personally seen it affect our friends and family. We left our previous roles at graduate programs at Berkeley MBA & MPH, UCSF Medical School, and Salesforce to focus on our mission of building a more accessible, affordable, and responsive solution.
So, over the past six months, our team went through the Lean Launchpad, XX and NSF I-Corps to conduct 400+ interviews (and counting) with young adults, physicians, therapists, employers, insurers, peer facilitators, and other startups to identify a true need that young adults with mental health issues have right now. That’s how we landed on Shimmer’s current model.
Today, Shimmer offers online mental health support groups that are led by coaches. Members pay a monthly subscription fee to join a small group of people with shared identity & experiences and improve their mental wellbeing together. We were incredibly excited when we were accepted into Y Combinator’s 2021 Summer Batch with our idea.
Y Combinator is a startup accelerator that has helped companies like Airbnb, Reddit, and Coinbase, as well as some great healthcare companies, such as Modern Health, Lucira Health, and Athelas lift off the ground. The program picks the most promising startups across the world and equips them with world-class startup community, resources, and advisors.
Since joining Y Combinator, we’ve worked closely with our group partners—Michael Siebel (Co-founder of Twitch), Tim Brady (CPO of Yahoo), Diana Hu (Co-founder of Escher Reality), Calvin French-Owen (Co-founder of Segment)—to build a high-retention subclinical mental health experience that members love. Our facilitator-led support groups solve many of the frustrations we saw early on by being more affordable and responsive to users' needs through our expert-crafted curriculum and extremely diverse pool of peer coaches. Currently, we have tested across BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Anxiety, and Career-centric groups and we’ve gotten very high retention-- and now we’re looking to expand our services to serve more people.
As we wrap up our time at Y Combinator, we’re excited to announce the start of our Seed fundraise, and that we already have funding from Y Combinator, XX, Pillar, Blackstone Launchpad Techstars and others.
Also, we’re hiring! Email us at email@example.com if you or someone you know is an engineer or peer facilitator passionate about mental health accessibility. You’ll also get to be in cute photos like the one above and join a FREE Shimmer Group ;).
Lastly, we’re opening up our beta to the public. If you or a friend are interested, sign up through our website at www.shimmer.care ✨.