David Cohn developed an interest in technology’s ability to improve people’s quality of life during his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. He continued his work in technology by advising CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies across his tenure at the Corporate Executive Board. Today, he is the co-founder of Regroup Therapy, a provider of video support groups to help women come together and overcome maternal depression and anxiety.
Tech Cocktail caught up with Cohn to learn more about his latest venture.
Tech Cocktail: What is Regroup Therapy and who is it for?
David Cohn: We run video support groups, moderated by licensed therapists. Today we run groups focused on helping mom’s facing mood disorders like postpartum depression. In the future, we’ll work with many different kinds of conditions.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind your startup? What do you enjoy most about working on it?
Cohn: The inspiration came from the fact that both my wife and the co-founder of Regroup were both pregnant as we were building out the idea. We were astounded to find out that 1 in 5 pregnant or postpartum moms will experience a mood disorder like postpartum depression (PPD).
Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor and how do you differentiate yourself?
Cohn: I think our greatest competitor is the non-direct competition that come from therapists everywhere. Getting people to realize that the support can come to them requires a shift in thinking. Many therapists are already seeing that they derive patients from us. They also see that we are able to provide them with a space to reach out to more people who need them.
Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in Chicago?
Cohn: Chicago has a surprising amount of startup activity, especially in the e-health space. Being able to interact with other entrepreneurs in venues like Tech Cocktail and others has been a great asset for us.
The big disadvantage – it isn’t the Valley. Some people mistakenly believe if you don’t have a zip code that starts with the number 9, you aren’t a serious player. While I think there are a lot of good reasons to be out West, there is plenty going on right here in Chicago. I think we’ll see some fantastic companies come out of the Midwest in the next few years.
Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
Cohn: I was living in Spain until last November. I think we realized that we needed to be on the ground in the US to get rolling. Picking up the family, moving back stateside and really, fully dedicating myself to Regroup required some serious reflection on my level of commitment to this company. I learned that once a decision is made, things tend to fall into place. The vacillation is what can kill you….
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?
Cohn: We are spread out all over the world. Sari, the Co-founder is in Tel Aviv. Pec is in San Jose. Gonzalo, an adviser, splits his time between Boston and Bilbao. This gives us access to perspectives and markets that we otherwise wouldn’t have. I can’t imagine having anything but a global team. It is so much more fun!
Regroup Therapy was one of the featured startups at the Tech Cocktail TechWeek Mixer in Chicago.