An entrepreneur who battled anxiety develops app to gamify mental health
- MindPeers is a mental strength platform offering therapy sessions, self-help tools, and fun games, among other services to promote
- Founder Kanika Agarwal started MindPeers after her own experience of battling anxiety and panic attacks.
- MindPeers received an investment of ₹1.06 crore — twice her ask on Shank Tank.
AdvertisementIt’s no secret that mental health is crucial to our overall well-being and yet, it’s a subject that many Indians are still wary of discussing — or accepting help for. MindPeers, the latest startup to appear on season 2 of
Founded in 2020 by Kanika Agarwal, MindPeers is a Delhi-based startup that claims to be ‘Asia's fastest growing mental strength platform’. MindPeers has a proprietary algorithm that checks how important aspects of your life—like career, financial status, relationships—are impacting your brain, the founder claims.
“Today, India’s the most depressed country in the world — because we aren’t aware of the importance of mental health in our day-to-day life,” said Agarwal.
An AI-powered platform, MindPeers helps book therapy sessions, provides self-help tools, along with in-house neuroscience games, among other services.
Learning from the fear of failure
Originally from Delhi, Agarwal completed her under graduation at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked with tech giants like Google and Microsoft before starting her entrepreneurial journey in 2016 with Passion Peers, a digital marketing agency.
Passion Peers bagged clients like Marks & Spencer, Unilever etc, and achieved a revenue of nearly ₹90 crore in two years, shared Agarwal. However, during this time, she faced severe anxiety and battled panic attacks — triggered by a constant fear of failure, among other things.
“I suffered from anxiety in 2017 because I couldn’t learn how to say no. And the biggest factor was that I was afraid of failure. All of this led to panic attacks,” shared Agarwal on the show.
In 2019, Passion Peers was acqui-hired. Acqui-hiring is when a company is acquired for its talent pool (employees) and not necessarily for its products or services. Currently, she has founder equity in the firm but is no longer responsible for its functioning.
Later, inspired by her own experience, she started researching mental health, the science behind it and set up MindPeers.
AdvertisementSahil Chitkara joined MindPeers as a co-founder in July 2021 after an investor arranged a meeting between him and Agarwal. Chitkara graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, and went on to work for organisations like Urban Company and Classplus before joining MindPeers.
Currently, MindPeers has 30,000 monthly active users. Users can also pay ₹350 per month to access certain paid services such as real-time replies from psychologists. Currently, it has six psychologists on payroll and 3,500 paid users.
Two months before appearing on the show, MindPeers started selling via B2B channels — and plans to move primarily into the B2B market. Through B2B, MindPeers is catering to organisations where the Human Resource department can use the app to track and improve the employees’ well-being.
In October 2022, it achieved sales of ₹16.5 lakh. Around ₹10 lakh from B2C and the remaining from B2B. It’s also expanding into Singapore, the US, and the UK.
MindPeers also raised ₹1.12 crore in its first round of funding from an angel investor, at a valuation of ₹33.75 crore.
A ‘nudge’ for mental health
Agarwal made an individual pitch to each investor on Shark Tank, requesting their specific expertise. Though impressed by her ‘marketing’ acumen, she couldn’t win over Anupam Mittal, founder of Shaadi.com. However, he was the only one.
Lenskart’s co-founder Peyush Bansal made the first offer of ₹53 lakh for 1% equity — exactly what the founders had requested. This valued the company at ₹53 crore.
Sugar Cosmetics’ co-founder Vineeta Singh and Emcure Pharmaceuticals’ executive director Namita Thapar jointly made the same offer, with Thapar claiming they were the better combination.
“Let me tell you why Vineeta and I are an unbeatable combination. I have expertise in healthcare and Vineeta knows brand building. You want to expand into B2B. We know in the post-Covid world, it’s required in the B2B world urgently,” shared Thapar.
AdvertisementAt the same time, boAt co-founder Aman Gupta asked them to introduce ‘nudges’ (contextual text notifications on mobile) with actionable tasks for people, using the available data. When the founders responded that they were already working on a PoC (proof of concept) for this feature, Gupta offered to join Thapar and Singh’s offer — calling them the ‘winning team’.
That’s when Bansal said he was open to the founders taking both offers because he wanted a 1% equity stake for himself. The shark trio of Singh, Gupta and Thapar agreed to this.
Ultimately, the founders also accepted this offer, walking away ₹1.06 crore for 2% equity. Singh, Gupta, and Thapar to pay ₹53 lakh for 1% jointly; and Bansal would pay ₹53 lakh for 1%.
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