Startup challenges in the Wellness Area  

By Vikram Beri, Founder,


Low Awareness & High Stigma

The number one challenge that all startups face in mental health space is the lack of awareness. Although we have alarming statistics that point out that India is facing a mental health epidemic and the need for interventions is more than ever. Very few people know enough about mental health to even be able to diagnose it. For those who are aware, the big challenge is the stigma associated with going to a psychologist or psychiatries and people prefer to suffer in silence over seeking help, still. People often reach out at a breaking point, instead of seeking preventive interventions or building emotional immunity.




Willingness to Pay

A fair number of individuals reaching out to wellness platforms expect pro bono help. Hence most platforms started out offering free trial sessions. However even post the free sessions, Clients are not keen to enroll in session plans. With the high gestation period, startups find it difficult to sustain financially.


Unfortunately, while most venture capitalists are looking for businesses to fund, the mental well-being industry needs patient investors which are a rare find. Funds wish to back businesses that can show high growth whereas mental health startups should be focussed on high quality and repeat. In the absence of word of mouth, such startups need to find alternative avenues to create awareness.


Scaling Up

As the venture grows, ensuring the availability of quality counselors and scaling it up in sync with the demand is challenging. Many ventures have sought to introduce AI and machine learning in this space as a possible solution to scale their business as well as make them cost-effective but the possibility of replacing a psychologist with a bot without human touch or empathy makes the whole concept of therapy ineffective as per studies conducted by Harvard Research fellows. Self-help programs are proving to be more helpful, as they don’t “fake it”. A bot can barely provide anything more than a prompt response. We have clients reaching out to confirm its not a bot they are chatting with. We believe that the need for the human touch when times are tough is a natural and fundamental one.


Tips for Cracking Interviews ( For young Millennial /fresh graduates)

  • “Why shouldn’t I hire you?” ( Adam Grant)
  • “Is it better to submit a project that’s perfect and late, or one that’s good and on time?” ObedLouissant VP of HR at IBM
  • “It’s 12 p.m. one year from now. What are you doing?” (Angela Bortolussi Partner at Social Recruiting)
  • How do these questions sound to you? Bizzare. Direct.
  • Did they catch you off-guard?


The new age interviews are not about technical cakewalk. Here are some plain sailing tweaks that can make you look hireable and capable in front of the recruiters.


Believe in the cliché’s- First impression does matter. Make sure you make a good positive start by dressing appropriately, shaking hands and smiling when you walk-in.


Prepare and Pride Or Bluff and Bid goodbye:-When you prepare well you are more likely to feel confident, look ambitious and be more articulate. On the other hand, if you decide to go unprepared you might come across as someone who is bluffing their way through. A part of your preparation should be about your understanding of the job profile and how it is the right fit for you


Don’t badmouth your previous employer:- You might have a past that is not pleasant. Digging the old feelings and displaying them does not make you look good. So, it’s better to be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving rather than sharing your experience and feelings.


Take time to Think, Speak and Use the pause wisely! – The interviewer might be looking for structured thinking while interacting. Therefore, speaking the first thought that comes to your mind does not help. Instead, outsmart yourself by letting your brain respond before your mouth responses.


Be prepared for the Stress/ nightmare question- There will be questions that will make you go numb and freeze in place. Know that there are no right answers and display a “can-do attitude” even with the most anxiety-provoking question.


Review your resume:- You would know what you did right? Just refresh your memory about your academics and previous jobs. The most embarrassing situation is when an interviewer asks something from your resume and you’re hiding your face in shock not knowing what to say.


Examples Help: – “Proficiency base interviews” hunt to see if you have handled a similar situation before. This is to test if you would be a right fit. For example, if it’s a sales role, it will involve client interaction so the interviewer would want to see how well you would be at delivering a sales pitch. Here they will look for a previous role example. Using STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) model will help you handle this situation with ease.


It’s always a good idea to ask questions:- Towards the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Make sure you have some interesting questions about job role, company, team etc. In this case, curiosity doesn’t kill the cat. It makes the cat catch the goal by its claw.

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