UK mental health and wellness platform Myndr has raised £300,000 backing from the government’s Innovate UK programme.

The company will use the competition winning grant to help achieve its target of reaching the thousands of UK employees and general public who need mental health support.

Based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, the start-up has set up by North East Young Entrepreneur of the year Lizzy Hodcroft and entrepreneur Emma Reilly, founder of The Brave & The Bold clothing line.

The digital learning and support platform helps company leaders and its employees to battle common mental health issues via anonymous peer-to-peer support.

Working alongside the Tyneside web development and app agency Komodo, Myndr will now launch its AI-assisted app in the next 12 months, further develop its online technology, invest in new staff and strike up partnerships with like-minded businesses. 

Last month the company was named the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Startup of the Year for 2020 and is currently trialling its product with the social housing giant Home Group.

The feedback and insight created from Home Group’s employees over the coming months will be used to create the final product.

Founders Hodcroft and Reilly had both experienced mental health issues and have spoken openly about their struggles with depression, anxiety and addiction, as well as their frustrations with the lack of options for mental health care.

Speaking about Myndr’s investment and its plans for the future, co-founder Hodcroft, said: “We’re incredibly honoured and proud to have received this grant. Most of the funds will be used towards further development and content for the app as we have high expectations to deliver a platform that is contextually smart as well as impactful with practical, actionable steps and content.

“We have already recruited new members of staff that will help us drive the service forward. They’re helping with the agile dev to get data into the system fast.

“We have also recently recruited a new COO and we’re reaching out to experienced content writers to help us deliver insightful personal stories to connect with our audience.”

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Reilly added: “Apart from the obvious benefit to our users in terms of support and action plans for their mental health, we are also very proud that we can offer a helping hand to many that have found themselves without a job or income during this time.

“Our service is for anyone. But I do personally feel that those feeling as though they have lost control and connection during this lockdown will find our tools most useful.”

Cllr Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for employment and culture, commented: “Particularly at this most difficult of times it is great to see a Newcastle business securing investment, supporting jobs and looking to lead the way in tackling one of our greatest public health challenges.”