TalkLife is perhaps one of the most important mobile innovations for 2014.
The South Australian youth mental health start up, is a global social network that enables young people to open up about taboo issues including depression, self-harm and even suicide, has grown to 8,000 users per day across 125 countries in the last two years.
They have just announced they have joined a London based business accelerator after closing its first round of funding and launching a collaboration with Microsoft Research. Founder Jamie Druitt is literally on a plane right now as this is being published.
Up until this point, the platform had been funded by its founder. Druitt says that Talklife will be taken to another level after receiving support from local investors and London’s Bethnal Green Ventures.
“This is the most exciting time in Talklife’s short history,” Mr Druitt said.”We’ve had great investors get on board, who are Adelaide-based businessmen with a passion for tackling youth mental health and helping Talklife become the social network that saves lives. The investment will help us continue to build a sustainable business model that will provide a platform for us to help many thousands more young people who are struggling with mental health issues around the world.”
Talklife’s global rise will begin in London next week, when Mr Druitt begins a three-month business accelerator program with Bethnal Green Ventures.
“We’ve built a great relationship with the team at Bethnal Green over the last six months, and it was their commitment to start ups that tackle social and environmental problems that really attracted us.We’re a unique start up addressing a massive global problem, and after talking to Bethnal Green about their values it was clear they are the perfect accelerator for us.” Druitt said.
The Talklife team have been working with Microsoft Research’s amazing director Professor Eric Horvitz, one of the world’s leading experts in human and machine reasoning, who has assigned the company scientists to analyse the data.
Mental Health is one of Australia’s largest growing workplace issues. In our country alone over 6 million days are lost due to mental health related issues. We are also as a wider workforce, particularly in the Small Business and Startup space no where near having a proper handle on this. It is an issue that really needs to be addressed more. Education for founders and their employee’s – the stressful vortex that is planet startup is rife for mental breakdown and anxiety.
What makes TalkLife so important, is that they are targeting youth. The best way to avoid something becoming an issue in later life, is to normalise the process of openly discussing it during those formative ones. The mission is not just about helping teenagers work through their current problems, but also giving them the tools so they can work through future ones.
TalkLife is less of a startup, and more a movement. A much needed one.