Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2020’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
If its a situation that sucks, virtual and augmented reality offer a solution, said Sarah Hill.
Elevator pitch: Healium is the next “Headspace” or “Calm” allowing you to control nature-based experiences with your EEG brainwaves and heart rate via your wearables. Healium’s patented, biometrically-powered technology is used in areas of stress, trauma, and pain for the self-management of anxiety. In three peer-reviewed journals, these mood-powered experiences have been shown to reduce anxiety by a third in as little as four minutes.
• Founders: Sarah Hill, Dr. Jeff Tarrant
• Founding year: 2015
• Amount raised to date: $1.4 million
• Programs completed: Apple Entrepreneur Program in Cupertino, Missouri Innovation Center Incubator, DOD Innovator Cohort, Women in XR Accelerator, Nueterra Health Accelerator, Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service, ECJC’s Pitch Perfect, ScaleUp!, REDI Bootcamp
• Current employee count: 6
“[The world] is now a place where we can step inside these experiences,” said Hill, founder of Healium which offers the world’s first drugless solution for stress and anxiety using VR tools.
“We can step inside our heart rate and our brain patterns to discover them in a new way, beyond just tracking the data on a dashboard,” she continued, detailing the transformative power of virtual tools in healing.
“We’re asking the public, ‘What’s in your medicine cabinet right now,’” she said of the startups research.
“[Whatever it is] Healium fills that [role,]” It’s not a replacement for cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s not a replacement for psychotropic medication, but it’s that one thing that you can have in your home, in your medicine cabinet, for your mental health and mental wellbeing.”
Healium is the new way to understand and consume personal data in a world that is no longer flat and people everywhere are taking notice, declared Hill, citing the success of an oversubscribed, $1.3 million funding round in 2019 — the first for the startup.
“In the Midwest, it’s not always easy to raise [funds] so that was an exciting moment for us,” she recalled, revealing a second funding round is planned for 2020.
Click here for more on Healium’s 2019 funding round which also saw Tinder founder Sean Rad join its advisory board.
“We are working very hard to get Healium into areas of acute stress — anything with a needle, like an infusion clinic or dialysis or a blood draw … Or even in the home — ‘I’ve had a bad day’ or ‘I’m going through a divorce,’” she said, suggesting further funds will help the startup reach its goals even quicker.
No stranger to partnerships and programs, 2020 will see Healium continue its relationship heavy path to growth, Hill revealed.
The startup is expected to finalize relationships with larger-scale partners and premiere healthtech groups across the globe, she said.
“We’re looking forward to more than a dozen clinical trials using Healium — not only for anxiety reduction but for labor pain, to quiet the mind, post traumatic stress, and anxiety, a layer in 60 percent of all illnesses and disease,” she explained.
New wearables and content are also expected to roll out over the coming months, enhancing stress-reducing pathways and providing a substitute for medication — which could also serve as a solution to the country’s opioid epidemic, Hill noted.
“Our goal is that when people think about having a bad day or they think about how they can help someone who’s struggling with anxiety they can think about Healium.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.