Covid-19 got you down? Joy Ventures is determined to innovate our behavioral health
2020 has brought on unprecedented anxiety, loneliness, and depression - here’s how Miri Polachek aims to fix it
“Now, of course, everything has been accelerated,” Polachek said. “It’s become personal for everyone and everyone is feeling the isolation, the loneliness, the anxiety — these are things that have been passed onto everybody.”There are currently five companies in Joy Venture’s portfolio since its founding in 2017, when it earmarked $50 million for the first stage of its operations and investment. These include companies like Sanga, which helps users overcome some of the barriers of regulating a meditation practice, and Vi Technologies, an AI-driven conversational fitness coach that gives words of inspiration for those who go running outdoors. Joy Ventures claims it’s not just there for the initial investment, but stays around to help advance technology and fund innovation in the behavioral health tech space.
But what is ‘behavioral health’ and how does it differ from the more recognizable ‘mental health’ label that society is only now learning to understand? Mental health, Polachek argues, used to focus on more conventional solutions for diagnosed conditions. Behavioral health, on the other hand, looks at the broader spectrum in how we can adjust our habits to improve our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing — something all too important for many people in these unprecedented times.“There are worrying trends but there are very promising trends,” she said. “Despite these stressful and negatively impacted situations… people suddenly became much more proactive about looking for solutions. “Different people react to different activities, interventions, habits, and I think it takes time for people to see what works for them.” Joy Ventures aims to be the hub of those solutions. By innovating consumer products with meaningful impact on emotional wellbeing, they believe it can make a difference in how we learn to deal with everyday problems. Today, Joy Ventures employs 10 people and operates out of Israel, although invests globally. It is funding and supporting startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs developing wellbeing products that fit into everyday routines. In the three years since Joy Ventures set out to transform wellness and behavioral health, the world has transformed with it. While battles are being faced to combat the increase in anxiety among people, especially the young, the Israeli firm is showing us the start of another promising sector that could revolutionize the industry as we know it.