Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: Mobile Therapy

September 25, 2015

4:00 pm

From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year competition at our annual Celebrate Conference in October. Among the dozens of participants that applied for the online competitions, only a few progressed into the semifinals.

Climbing the ranks for our Los Angeles, CA region, Mobile Therapy was one of two semifinal winners. If they come out on top, Mobile Therapy can expect prizes and support from Tech Wildcatters, 500Startups, Consumer Electronics Association, Crowdfunder, Techstars, American Airlines, and more!

In order to get a better understanding about what they do and how they are preparing for Celebrate, we sat down with Mobile Therapy’s Thought Leader and Co-Founder Jacques Habra to hear about their journey to get to Celebrate.

Tech.Co: Since launch, what was the most challenging part of gaining market traction?

Jacques Habra: Mobile Therapy provides valuable information to clinicians on their clients well-being in between therapy visits. However, demonstrating that value to clinicians without a DEMO or a pilot is a challenging aspect of the market adoption. Psychotherapy has not changed much in the last 50 years and the proposition that gaining insights and reviewing data on what happens in between visits is easier said than done. Clinicians must be convinced that this positively disruptive technology will indeed help them provide better treatment. Those that try generally agree and remain customers – but since we are initially asking Clinicians to change the format of their practice delivery, the initial sale can be challenging.

Tech. Co: What was the road like leading up to your initial pitch for the competition? Did you do anything in particular to rally your fans and clients?

Habra: Mobile Therapy spent the majority of the time leading up to the initial pitch competition perfecting our platform and ensuring that both the application and the Web dashboard is 100 percent rooted in real science. We spent our first year designing the product with our world-renowned science team. As far as the pitch itself, we wanted to convey quickly the positive impact using this type of technology will have on the mental health industry; and entertain the audience at the same time.

Tech.Co: Is this your first startup or have you all been part of others in the past?

Habra: This is my cofounder DJ Wetmore’s first startup. This is actually my ninth startup in 20 years. I began my career as an entrepreneur in 1995 while graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in English and Philosophy with Honors. My first company, Web Elite, provided high-end Web and application development services for the Automotive community (suppliers and OEMs).

After selling Web Elite in 2001 to a group of investors, I began to invest in other startups either as an Angel or cofounder. I enjoyed several exits along the way and currently my incubator Noospheric has a significant position in several startups including TrackR (which I was lead investor and helped launch) and FirstClick – Online Marketing Agency. My focus and passion is SelfEcho and the positive impact Mobile Therapy is having on the mental health industry.

Tech.Co: How are you all prepping for the big semi-finals competition next month?

Habra: Practice, practice, practice. We know our product, market, and value proposition inside and out. Our task is to convey how data and algorithms is positively impacting the mental health industry and do so in a concise, entertaining fashion. We will be ready and we’re excited to share.

Tech.Co: What are some of the biggest challenges of being a startup in the healthcare industry?

Habra: If you are serious about being a player in the healthcare industry, you must adhere to the highest levels of privacy and integrity – even arguably beyond the requirements of HIPAA. It’s important that clinicians and clients associate your brand with trust and your product, communications, and leadership reflect that trust.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@) or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.