Meet the Gen Z Founders Who Created a Music App to Help Fight Pandemic-Induced Anxiety and Depression

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  • Travis Chen and Brian Feminella are the founders of Mental Health application Healthy mind.
  • The duo felt there was a lack of reliable mental health resources that could help people during the pandemic.

Name: Travis Chen and Brian Feminella

Age: 22 and 21

Location: Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles, California

Business: SoundMind, a music therapy app designed for people with trauma, depression and anxiety.

Past: The pandemic has created a mental health crisis: people have been isolated from others, while mass deaths have been featured in the news. Nurses and doctors faced an unprecedented overflow of patients in hospitals, while families watched the funeral on YouTube.

Travis Chen and Brian Femminella felt there was a lack of reliable sanity technology resources that could help with such levels of stress and trauma, so they launched the SoundMind therapy app in November this year. The app uses music, created by an in-house team of composers, to help reduce anxiety. It also links users directly to helpful resources, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“Not only was it essential to start a tech app, but also to start building a community that was a lasting movement for people to get inspired and hold on to, especially when times were tough,” Femminella said. to Insider.

Healthy mind

Growth: SoundMind’s launch party at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles brought together actors like Jennings Brower, who has 3.4 million followers on TikTok, and Matthew Dennis Lewis, who starred in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.”

To date, SoundMind has raised six figures in pre-seed funding, but the round will officially close in December. He also has corporate partnerships with organizations such as therapy service Okay Humans and digital business card company Popl to host mental health-related collaborations and events. Next year, SoundMind will launch a creator platform to commission artists, such as musician Nick Tangorra, to create music specifically for the company.

Before SoundMind: Chen is graduating from the University of Southern California in 2021, and Fremminella is completing her senior year at the same university. Previously, both were legislative interns on Capitol Hill, and for the past four years, Femminella has served in the U.S. Army Reserves. Fremminella also worked at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies in the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development team.

Challenges: The two founders had to deal with investors questioning their young age. Additionally, Femminella, who is openly gay, has learned to fully embrace her sexuality rather than hide it from backers. Meanwhile, Chen had to convince others of the importance of taking the mental health of Asian Americans seriously.

Meet the Gen Z Founders Who Created a Music App to Help Fight Pandemic-Induced Anxiety and Depression
SoundMind Team PhotoHealthy mind

Trading tips: “You’re going to fall, but it’s How? ‘Or’ What you pick yourself up and keep building — with the insights you’ve learned from past mistakes — that show who you really are,” Femminella said.

Business Mentoring: Femminella credits Dr. Scott B. Spencer of USC’s Thornton School of Music as someone who helped her conduct research for the app. Chen relies on his 89-year-old grandfather, who taught him the importance of giving back.

Why is this the best time to start a business: The pandemic has pushed people to pursue their passions more, Chen said. “It’s a great time to do whatever you can, eventually find what you love to do and who you love to do it with,” Chen added.

At hiring : The team currently has five full-time people, including the two members of the in-house team of composers. SoundMind plans to double the company’s workforce by the end of 2022.

On managing burnout: Chen spends time with family and friends and enjoys hiking. Femminella takes long breaks from social media and loves SoulCycle. “I like skydiving, crazy, right? ” he added. It’s “to really see the world and hear nothing but the air and the sound of the parachute as a way to reset my mind”.



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