These entrepreneurs did not know each other in person 6 months ago, but they have already caught the attention of Google: uMore, the app with Spanish DNA that analyzes your stress and anxiety about how you use the phone
Business Insider Spain
Lucas Gª Mayor
Lucas Gª Mayor
Sep 27 2021 8:16 am.
uMore is an app that monitors the mental health of its users through artificial intelligence, a sector that continues to raise interest in investors.
Maria de Freitas and Alejandro Serrano, are two of the founders of the app that this summer has gone through the Google Growth Academy program: Health & Wellbeing.
“We want to do for mental health, what wearables did for physical health,” both entrepreneurs say.
Maria de Freitas and Alejandro Serrano did not know each other in person until a couple of months ago. However, they have been working together with two other partners for more than a year working side by side on uMore, an application that helps users monitor their mental health using artificial intelligence.
The uMore project was born in a competition organized by Techstars – one of the largest accelerators on the planet – in which entrepreneurs from all over the world, over a weekend, create synergies with other entrepreneurs and try to carry out technology-based projects.
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De Freitas, CEO of the company, and Serrano, director of the scientific part, met at that event in which their app was selected as the best startup among thousands of applicants.
Since then, the initial team has not stopped growing. There are already 18 “astronauts” – as they call themselves internally – and, although for now, they have 9,000 users worldwide, both the Spanish fund The Venture City and Google have already shown interest in the project.
In fact, this year they have already managed to raise $ 500,000 (about 425,000 euros) in a pre-seed phase led by The Venture City in addition to different business angels. In addition, in summer, they participated in the Google Growth Academy: Health & Wellbeing, a startup support program of the technology giant oriented to the health sector.
That, they explain, allowed them to know the insides of Google Fitbit and establish ties with the Silicon Valley company.
However, at the moment there is no fixed agreement on the table. “We have nothing fixed for now, but we are talking. We had conversations with the Fitbit team, but nothing compromised, ”explains de Freitas.
The co-founders of uMore. From left to right; Carl Yates (CPO), Alejandro Serrano (Chief Scientific Officer), Joel Stephano (CTO) and María de Freitas (CEO). Photo courtesy of uMore
In the coming months, they hope to announce their first investment round, which will be aimed at improving the app’s system to better understand users and offer a more personalized service. They also plan to launch a premium plan, which through a subscription will offer an improved help option.
However, both co-founders point out to Business Insider Spain that their app will always have a free option even if it incorporates an added paid service: “Our mission is to help people. Whoever needs help will always have that help ”, says de Freitas.
One of the main tools that uMore offers is to quantify the stress level of its users. “Using a series of psychometric forms we can measure stress, anxiety, and depression. Many times we know that we are stressed but not how much, and this was something that users were looking for in our app ”, assures Alejandro Serrano, a psychologist by training and co-founder of the application.
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uMore relies on science to offer its users a self-knowledge tool with which to measure and determine their well-being. In addition, it offers the possibility of creating circles of trust with family and friends with whom to share the status of each one on a daily basis.
The platform uses machine learning and is incorporating digital phenotyping, that is, the collection of biological data through an electronic device in real-time, to offer users accessible and personalized mental health care.
Both co-founders are excited about the reception it is having among its users. The registration process takes almost 10 minutes, but despite this, they claim that the conversion rate is around 75%. Currently, all their efforts and resources are being devoted to the engineering part of the product.
The next step will be to incorporate your app into wearables. “We are developing the ability to measure aspects of mental health through the data we can get from the mobile, for example, we can know the anxiety or stress that someone suffers from how they use their phone,” explains Serrano.
“We want to connect Google Fit and Apple Health with the application, so we can understand physiological measures not necessarily psychological that pertain to the health of the user in general and that allows us to better measure their mental health,” he adds.
“We want to do for mental health, what wearables did for physical health, ” de Freitas summarizes.
Both co-founders strongly emphasize that their app is not a substitute for therapy from a doctor or psychologist. “We are not trying to do that, we just want to offer the possibility that people can measure their mental well-being through their mobile. This is something that could not be done before ”, they emphasize.
The demand for products that help alleviate stress or anxiety is increasing, in part due to the pandemic. Last year a study carried out by the WHO determined that the majority of countries had seen their mental health prevention services overwhelmed by the number of calls and attention required by citizens.
In 2020, startups operating in the area of mental health received funding of 2 billion dollars. By the end of 2021, that number is expected to be 3 billion, according to data from CB Insights.
What will the future hold? The founders of uMore are seen on the Moon in a few years, working with the real astronauts, helping them to improve their knowledge about their mental health and how they can improve it.
“We see a great transition regarding our relationship with health, specifically with mental health. We want to be part of that revolution ”, de Freitas points out.
Read it in Spanish here: https://www.businessinsider.es/umore-app-mide-salud-mental-google-tiene-radar-934851