Empty streets, quiet highways, no airplanes flying above… we are living in a difficult, surreal time. In every country in the world, our healthcare systems, political systems and economies are being put to the test.
But some of the biggest challenges are the ones many people are facing within their own four walls. Fear – of Covid-19, of economic uncertainty – the stress of living alone or cramped with family members, and the not knowing of when this will all end, are raising anxiety and unrest.
The fact of the matter is, today’s remote work and social distancing reality have only served to magnify some of our modern day’s most pressing social issues such as rising depression rates, and high reports of loneliness and isolation among adults.
The Demand for Emotional Wellbeing Tech is Here
Alongside these more bleak trends, is a rising awareness and concern from consumers for their emotional health and wellbeing. With a growing understanding that emotional wellbeing is a fundamental pillar of a healthy lifestyle, consumers are investing in a range of products, tools, and experiences in the online and offline world, ranging from mindfulness apps, calming wristbands, all the way to headbands that improve sleep and more.
In the wake of Covid19, we see relief is coming from an often inspiring juncture of technology and science with human ingenuity: from DJ dance parties and Zumba classes on zoom, online platforms for people to offer help with those in their community who need them, guided meditation apps and emotional wellbeing products.
People are hungry for direction not only in how to stay safe from the virus, but also on how to feel better.
The most popular Yale lecture class in its history “The Science of Wellbeing”, taught by Professor Laurie Santos, has garnered over one million new subscribers in the past few weeks alone. Prof. Santos was quoted in the Yale News as saying she believes the recent surge in sign-ups reflects an increased motivation to pursue evidence-based interventions to safeguard mental health during the pandemic: “Everyone knows how to protect their physical health – washing hands and keeping six feet apart – but I think people want similarly actionable tips to improve their mood and wellbeing during this challenging time.”
Envisioning the Future of Emotional Wellbeing
While the demand for ingenuity in the emotional wellbeing space is at an all-time high, the product landscape is still in its early days. At Joy Ventures, our mission from day one has been to answer this growing need. We build and invest in companies that are rethinking how breakthrough science and technology can be translated into beloved consumer products that improve emotional wellbeing and bring everyday joy.
Since founding Joy, we have invested in more and more startups tackling the emotional wellbeing market from different vantage points and creating a range of niche categories within this domain: from companies developing science-backed stress management products such as Reflect’s smart textile biofeedback device, and Empathic Technologies’ calm-inducing wristband, doppel, to personalized coaching apps for meditation and fitness from Sanga and Vi, all the way to NYX’s wearable headbands that rely on cutting edging AI and neurotechnology to improve sleep.
Planting the Seeds for Emotional Wellbeing Innovation
We have also come to understand that in order to accelerate the growth of this field, we must also nurture innovation at its source. In parallel to our investment activity we run ideation programs with innovation and academic communities, and are taking our collective knowledge, experience and ideas and evolving them into companies, in-house, through our Entrepreneur-In-Residence program.
Each year, we also fund academic research and technology development across various topics in the field of neurowellness – with the goal of applying these advancements to innovative consumer products (Learn here about our 2020 Call for Proposals).
A Joyful New Platform
Today, we are excited to energize the Joy platform, with the launch of our new website. It includes information about all of our programs, opportunities to share your ideas and innovate with us, latest insights and trends in the emotional wellbeing space and more.
We at Joy have always believed that science and technology breakthroughs – brought to life in easy and fun to use consumer products – have the potential to truly improve our emotional wellbeing.
Now, more than ever, we are feeling the global call for innovation in our domain.
If you share our passion, I welcome you to connect with me personally to talk new ideas over a virtual, or hopefully soon in-person, cup of coffee.