Andrea Campos has struggled with melancholy since she was eight years previous. Over time, she’s tried all kinds of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy.
In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she realized to program and created a system to assist handle her psychological well being. It began as a private undertaking, however as she talked to extra folks, Campos realized that many others would possibly profit from the system as properly.
So she constructed an software to offer entry to psychological well being instruments for Spanish-speaking folks and started testing it with a small group. At first, Campos herself was her personal chatbot, texting with customers who had been bored with coping with melancholy.
“Throughout the month, I used to be pretending I used to be an app, and would ship these folks a listing of actions they needed to full throughout the day, reminiscent of writing in a gratitude journal, after which asking them how these actions made them really feel,” Campos recollects.
Her considering was that typically with melancholy and anxiousness comes “quite a lot of avoidance,” the place folks resist potential remedy out of concern.
The outcomes from her small experiment had been encouraging. So, Campos got down to conduct an even bigger pattern of experiments, and raised about $10,000 by way of a crowdfunding marketing campaign. With that cash, she employed a developer to construct a chatbot for her app, which was largely getting used by way of Fb Messenger.
Then an earthquake hit Mexico Metropolis and that developer misplaced every part — together with his house and pc — and needed to relocate.
“I used to be left with nothing,” Campos says. However that developer launched her to a different, who disappeared together with his cost, and once more, left Campos, “with nothing.”
“I spotted firstly of 2019, I used to be going to have to do that on my own,” Campos stated. So she used a web site that she described as a “Wix for chatbots,” and created one herself.
After experimenting with the app with a pattern of 700 folks, Campos was much more inspired and raised an angel spherical of funding for Yana, the startup behind her app. (Yana is an acronym for “You Are Not Alone.”) By early 2020, with simply three months of runway left, she pivoted to create an app with chatbot integration that wasn’t simply restricted to make use of by way of Fb Messenger.
Campos ended up launching the app extra broadly throughout the identical week that her metropolis in Mexico went into quarantine.
At first, she stated, she noticed “regular, regular development.” However then on October 10, 2020, Apple’s App Retailer highlighted Yana for Worldwide Psychological Well being Day, and the response was overwhelming.
“It was additionally my birthday so I used to be at a spa in a close-by city, enjoyable, after I began listening to my cellphone go loopy,” Campos recollects. “Every little thing went nuts. I had to return to Mexico Metropolis as a result of our servers had been exploding since they weren’t used to having that form of quantity.”
Because of that publicity, Yana went from having round 80,000 customers to reaching 1 million customers two weeks later. Quickly after that, Google highlighted the app as one among finest for private development in 2020, and that too led to a different spike in customers. As we speak, Yana is about to hit the 5 million-user mark and can be saying it has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Mexico’s ALLVP, which has additionally invested within the likes of Cornershop, Flink and Nuvocargo.
When the pandemic hit final yr, six of Yana’s nine-person workforce determined to quarantine collectively in a “startup home” in Cancun to concentrate on constructing the corporate. Earlier this yr, the corporate had raised $315,000 from buyers reminiscent of 500 Startups, Magma and Hustle Fund. The corporate had pitched ALLVP, which was intrigued however needed to attend till it might write an even bigger examine.
That point is now, and Yana is now among the many high three downloaded apps in Mexico and 12 international locations, together with Spain, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.
With its new capital, Yana is planning to “transfer away from the melancholy/anxiousness narrative,” in line with Campos.
“We need to compete within the wellness area,” she advised TechCrunch. “Lots of people had been searching for us to take care of crises reminiscent of a breakup or a loss however then they didn’t at all times see a necessity to maintain utilizing Yana for longer than the disaster lasted.”
A few of these folks would obtain the app once more months later when hit with one other disaster.
“We don’t need to be that app anymore,” Campos stated. “We need to concentrate on entire wellness and psychological well being and transmit one thing that must be constructed each single day, identical to we do with train.”
Shifting ahead, Yana goals to assist folks with their psychological well being not simply throughout a disaster however with actions they will do each day, together with a gratitude journal, a temper tracker and meditation — “issues that stop melancholy and anxiousness,” Campos stated.
“We need to be a vitamin for our soul, and maintaining folks mentally wholesome on an ongoing foundation,” she stated. “We additionally need to embrace a group inside our software.”
ALLVP’s Federico Antoni is enthusiastic concerning the startup’s potential. He first met Campos when she was taking part in an accelerator program in 2017, after which once more not too long ago.
The agency led Yana’s newest spherical as a result of it “needed to be on her workforce.”
“She [Campos] has was a tremendous chief, and we realized her potential and power,” he stated. “Plus, Yana is a tremendous product. Once you obtain it, it’s virtually like you may see a soul in there.”