Music-led mental wellness app SPOKE gets investment from The Inner Foundation

The foundation investing in for-profit and non-profit mental health ventures,The Inner Foundation,announces their financial backing of SPOKE, a mental wellness mobile app targeting young adults.

SPOKE’s app combines spoken word and music from hip-hop artists with neuroscience to create a meditation experience that has proven to be effective to reduce anxiety and depression. The app reaches out to an audience whose mental wellness needs have not been recognized and that feels excluded by the mainstream wellness culture.

Annika Sten Pärson, Co-founder and Partner of The Inner Foundation – “We have invested in SPOKE because it is an innovative and unique mental wellness app with a focus on young adults and specifically targeting young men from underserved communities. The SPOKE team is super passionate and innovative, and we share their mission to provide mental health resources for youth from all backgrounds”

Based on 18 months of research and development, SPOKE combines music with the therapeutic technique of mindfulness. SPOKE engages artists, trained by a team of clinical psychologists, therapists, and neuroscientists to produce music and spoken word to help users achieve a desired mental state. The goal is to deliver an experience that has the same impact as therapeutic practices.

The funding from The Inner Foundation will be used to expand the team, further develop the product and build knowledge about how music and spoken word can be used to improve mental wellness.

Annika Sten Pärson – “What especially sparked our interest in SPOKE is that it has been specifically designed to appeal to young men, a group which until now has been extremely hard to reach with conventional wellness tools and therapy. There are so many young men battling mental health issues and this group is less likely to seek support. SPOKE has great potential to fulfill these unmet needs”.

SPOKE’s founding team includes mental health activist and entrepreneur Ariana Alexander-Sefre. She has spent several years studying the body of academic research about music-based interventions to affect the state of mind. Ariana has a master’s degree in social innovation from the University of Cambridge where she researched the link between music, culture, and mental health. Ariana is joined by Co-Founder and Co-CEO Michael Maher, a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience building consumer apps and subscription-based business models. Michael previously co-founded multi-award winning app publisher Zolmo with 20M+ downloads from self published titles.

The SPOKE team also includes scientific advisor Becky Inkster, a digital mental health neuroscientist. Becky has a PhD from Oxford University and is the author of many scientific papers on a range of topics, including digital mental healthcare. She is currently affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.

Ariana Alexander-Sefre – “We look forward to joining forces with The Inner Foundation. We share the same vision to improve the state of inner health for emerging adults and to fight for diversity and inclusion. SPOKE has inclusion at its core, where anyone can learn, grow, reflect and heal without expectation and judgment”.

“The early stage, preventative mental wellness sector is changing rapidly. It is crucial to innovate fast to meet the deeply sophisticated, varied and fluid needs of young people today, who are more in-tune and conscious than any generation before. We strongly believe that artists, who are the world’s natural healers, need a platform and vehicle to be positive and validated ambassadors for good mental health. That is exactly what we do at SPOKE; match up young people’s need for a new way of looking after the mind, with artists’ desire to serve society for good”.

“The Inner Foundation and SPOKE share the same values on the importance of inclusivity, equity and the quest to help improve people’s inner worlds. We believe that these values will help make the world a better place”.