London-based Spoke has raised £1.1 million in a pre-seed round led by Ada Ventures. Far from alone in the mindfulness app space, where Spoke stands apart from the crowd is in the fact that the startup is using music as the primary driver, and thus aiming to appeal to a younger demographic. The funding will be used to augment the team numbers, continue the development of the product, and welcome and train more artists who are creating music specifically tailored to the platform.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that at some time over the past 24 months you, a loved one, or even your loved pet, have experienced a bad day or two, or three, or 15, and turned to a mindfulness app to calm those stormy brainwaves.
I’m also going to make an educated guess that one, two, or all of them had some form of music underpinning the experience?
But how many of those soundtracks do you think were specifically tailored to the actual programme you’re listening to? Furthermore, how many of those soundtracks were performed by artists that have been trained by clinical psychologists, therapists, and neuroscientists in order to achieve a desired mental state?
Sure, there are the “frequency” channels, and singing bowls and flutes abound, but they’re not exactly in-tune with the under 25’s. Heck, this ummm, older-than-25 can sometimes be a bit put off by the binaural beat tracks.
Launching with a decidedly hip-hop flavour, Spoke is currently working with over 25 artists including Jordy, V.I.C., and Jamilah Barry, says that it plans to branch out into other genres in the near future, and is actively seeking out suitable musicians to join their crusade.
Co-founded by serial entrepreneur Ariana Alexander-Sefre, she explains one of the raisons d'être behind Spoke, “On average there is a 10-year gap between men and women when it comes to knowing that they have a problem and seeking help for their mental health. Current methods aren’t appealing early enough to young men, and it was through a live hip-hop meditation event that we found a huge opportunity to engage younger people through the music they already enjoy.”
Spoke’s £1.1 million pre-seed funding round was led by Ada Ventures and saw participation from Bethnal Green Ventures and angel investors including Mixcloud co-founder Nikhil Shah, HERmesa founder Marla Shapiro, Space Ape Games co-founder Toby Moore, Ascension Ventures CFO Emma Blackburn, and First Close founding partner Ed Zimmerman. Metail founder Tom Adeyoola also participated in the round and will now serve as Spoke’s chairman.
“Spoke is addressing a critical and completely underserved market – mental health therapy for young men. The daily news stories of young people, particularly young men, battling mental health issues are a tragic and constant reminder of the size and importance of the problem that Spoke is tackling,” commented Ada Ventures’ Check Warner. “Spoke’s unique product combines music and rap with neuroscience to create a meditation product which is effective at reducing anxiety and depression.”