Andrea Campos has struggled with melancholy since she was 8 years outdated. Through the years, she’s tried all types of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy.

In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she discovered to program and created a system to assist handle her psychological well being. It began as a private challenge however as she talked to extra individuals, Campos realized that many others would possibly profit from the system as nicely.

So, she then constructed an software to offer entry to psychological well being instruments to Spanish-speaking individuals and started testing it with a small group of individuals. At first, Campos herself was her personal chatbot, texting with customers who have been bored with coping with melancholy.

“Throughout the month, I used to be pretending I used to be an app, and would ship these individuals an inventory of actions they needed to full in the course of the day, equivalent to writing in a gratitude journal, after which asking them how these actions made them really feel,” Campos remembers.

Her considering was that generally with melancholy and anxiousness comes “lots of avoidance,” the place individuals resist potential therapy out of concern.

The outcomes from her small experiment have been encouraging. So, Campos got down to conduct an even bigger pattern of experiments, and raised about $10,000 by way of 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 the whole lot — together with his dwelling and laptop — and needed to relocate.

“I used to be left with nothing,” Campos says. However that developer launched her to a different, who disappeared along with his fee, and once more, left Campos, “with nothing.”

“I noticed originally of 2019, I used to be going to have to do that on my own,” Campos stated. So she used a website that she described as a “Wix for chatbots,” and created one herself.

After experimenting with the app with a pattern of 700 individuals, 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.

Picture Credit: Yana

At first, she stated, she noticed “regular, regular progress.” However then on Oct. 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, stress-free, once I began listening to my cellphone go loopy,” Campos remembers. “Every thing went nuts. I had to return to Mexico Metropolis as a result of our servers have been exploding since they weren’t used to having that type of quantity.”

On account 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 considered one of finest for private progress in 2020, and that too led to a different spike in customers. At present, Yana is about to hit the 5 million-user mark and can also 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 12 months, six of Yana’s 9-person workforce determined to quarantine collectively in a “startup home” in Cancun to deal with constructing the corporate. Earlier this 12 months, the corporate had raised $315,000 from traders equivalent to 500 Startups, Magma and Hustle Fund. The corporate had pitched ALLVP, who was intrigued however wished to attend till it may write an even bigger examine. 

That point is now, and Yana is now among the many high three downloaded apps in Mexico and 12 nations 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 wish to compete within the wellness area,” she advised TechCrunch. “Lots of people have been in search of us to take care of crises equivalent to 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 individuals would obtain the app once more months later when hit with one other disaster.

“We don’t wish to be that app anymore,” Campos stated. “We wish to deal with entire wellness and psychological well being and transmit one thing that must be constructed each single day, identical to we do with train.”

Transferring ahead, Yana goals to assist individuals 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 wish to be a vitamin for our soul, and retaining individuals mentally wholesome on an ongoing foundation,” she stated. “We additionally wish to embrace a group inside our software.”

ALLVP’s Federico Antoni is enthusiastic in regards to the startup’s potential. He first met Campos when she was collaborating 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 “wished to be on her workforce.”

“She [Campos] has became a tremendous chief, and we realized her potential and power,” he stated. “Plus, Yana is a tremendous product. If you obtain it, it’s nearly like you’ll be able to see a soul in there.”

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