The problem we solve: Depression affects 1 in 12 Americans each year. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most proven form of treatment, with over 100 randomized control trials showing its effectiveness. However, there are significant barriers to face-to-face therapy: 1. It requires effort – to find a therapist, make an appointment, and figure out coverage; 2. It is inconvenient – since it must be done at a specific time at a specific place (involving travel); 3. It is expensive – a complete course of therapy costs over $2,000 on average. Unfortunately, for these and other reasons, 50% of Americans with depression don't use any form of treatment.
About our solution: UpLift will be the first comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program available on smartphones in the US. We created a fully automated CBT app. It is an interactive program, in which the user reads (and sees pictures), asks questions, and answers questions. UpLift has 11 "Sessions", with in-app homework "Challenges" and other CBT-based tools. The app works on computers and smartphones interchangeably, and thus solves the problems of: 1. Effort – just create an account and you're ready to go; 2. Convenience – can be done at any time, from anywhere; 3. Cost – it will cost a fraction of the price of face-to-face therapy.Progress to date:After almost 4 years of development, the UpLift app is finished! We have had many experts and clinicians consult on the improvement of each Session multiple times. The program is currently being further piloted by users, and we are planning to launch a scientific study of its effectiveness soon.
Creator: Raffi Grinberg
Bio: Raffi Grinberg has experience in computer science, product management (at The Vanguard Group), and education (he is the author of the math textbook "The Real Analysis Lifesaver)—this has enabled him to manage UpLift's product team and refine its development. On the business side, Raffi spent 3 years as a management consultant at Bain & Company, and has advised multiple startups on growth and business development.
Biography: Spencer Greenberg has a wide range of experience designing new technologies in many domains. In 2005 at the age of 23, he co-founded the quantitative hedge fund Rebellion Research, which continues to operate nine years later with a track record of outperforming the market. He is also the founder of ClearerThinking.org, which creates online training programs to teach decision making skills, and he is the founder of Gimbel Technologies, a software firm that develops new technologies.
Advanced Degree(s): PhD
Chief Scientist, PhD (currently pursuing)
Biography: Drew Mallory is completing a PhD in humanitarian work psychology at Purdue University, where he focuses on the intersection of diversity, ethics, and wellbeing. He completed a masters at Oxford while conducting a meta-analysis on "what works" in computer-delivered cognitive behavioral interventions for depression, and a second at Purdue on the effects of corporate social responsibility on employees' experiences. He is the Vice Chair of the Global Organisation for Humanitarian Work Psychology.
Title: Chief Scientist
Advanced Degree(s): PhD (currently pursuing)
Senior Product Manager, MAPP
Biography: Aislinn Pluta coordinates the technical and research-related aspects of UpLift. She has written much of the code that underpins UpLift's content and interactivity. She continues to write and edit, utilizing her background in positive psychology: the evidence-based factors that lead to individual and community thriving, founded by renowned psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman.
Title: Senior Product Manager
Advanced Degree(s): MAPP
Trying to beat depression can feel overwhelming. Luckily, UpLift can be with you every step of the way. It will check in with you. It will get to know you, and adapt to your personality. Most importantly, it will teach you the skills that have helped millions of other people lift their moods and overcome depression. Unlike face-to-face therapy, you can access UpLift whenever you'd like, from wherever you want. It can work by itself or as a complement to medication, and the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have been shown to often last a long time. When it's available, you'll be able to log in to UpLift to get started, with full access to all of the Sessions, Challenges, and problem-solving tools.
Care providers who diagnose a patient with depression often prescribe anti-depressants and/or refer to a therapist or psychiatrist. Unfortunately, many patients don't follow up on these recommendations. Wouldn't be nice if you could send your patient home with an app that they can use to help themselves immediately, to complement any prescriptions for medication? UpLift will be the first comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program available on smartphones in the US. UpLift can serve as an excellent supplement to various forms of treatment, and multiple meta-analyses support the effectiveness of similar computerized CBT interventions.
Research shows that patients with depression cost over $400 more per month in healthcare expenses than the average chronic patient: http://us.milliman.com/insight/research/health/pdfs/chronic-conditions-and-comorbid-psychological-disorders/ UpLift will be the first comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based program available on smartphones in the US. It is an inexpensive, easily-adopted self-help program for patients with depression, that is likely to save costs: in patients' mental health care, as well as their physical health care.
Imagine if every prescription of your medication, device, or service included access for the patient to use UpLift for free. That's what we can offer! Computerized CBT can be effective alongside various forms of treatment, including medication and face-to-face therapy. UpLift will be the first comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based program available on smartphones in the US.
Market SizeUpLift offers evidence-based self-help to everyone who is suffering from depression but not receiving any form of help. Our market size is thus: 320 million Americans x 8.2% have depression x 50% receive no help = 13 million people.
Projected 3 Year GrowthNot only do we plan to reach the 50% of Americans with depression who don't have any treatment, but in the long term, we hope to expand internationally as well. Because the program is fully automated, the marginal cost of growing is very small—so we can make the app available and affordable to people in the developing world, where access to treatment is worse than in the United States. In the next 3 years, our projected revenue is: $125K (2017), $10M (2018), $20M (2019).
How We Will Make MoneyOur primary revenue stream will be B2B. UpLift has a strong value for: 1. Healthcare systems – Primary care providers who diagnose a patient with depression often prescribe anti-depressants and refer to a therapist or psychiatrist. Unfortunately, many patients don't follow up on these recommendations, and doctors know this. UpLift will allow them to send the patients home with an app that they can use to help themselves alongside medication, and which may even increase medication compliance. 2. Insurance companies – Chronic patients with depression cost $400 more per month in healthcare expenses. Insurance companies are actively looking for inexpensive, effective depression solutions to mitigate their costs and improve their outcomes. 3. Large employers – In the United States, $44 billion of employee productivity is lost each year because of depression. Employers are paying close attention to employee wellness (as a means of increased productivity).
About our CompetitionAlthough direct competitors don't exist, the closest alternatives fall into two categories: 1. Tools that are not even trying to treat depression (happiness programs, etc.) – Most of them are small apps like "track your mood". They are either not proven to help users at all; or, they have a very minor scope that is intended to serve as a supplement to treatment (like therapy), not a stand-alone self-help tool. 2. Non-automated programs (that that are very expensive to administer because staff must scale with the user base) – The best examples are Joyable (for social anxiety) and Lantern (for generalized anxiety). Talkspace provides digital help from therapists and covers a range of disorders. All of these are essentially teletherapy, so they require 1 person-hour of work per person-hour of benefit. By contrast, UpLift being fully automated means we will approach $0 marginal cost per user; this also means that UpLift can grow rapidly with a vastly smaller team.