The What If
Fellowship

An 8-week mental health startup accelerator program for everyone

APPLY NOW

This is an intensive accelerator designed to help founders get better at building sustainable businesses.

We are leveraging a powerful community of investors, entrepreneurs, advisors, payers, and providers to help build and facilitate advancement of your behavioral health business.

300+

GRADUATES

2X

COFOUNDER MATCHES

$13MM+

COLLECTIVE FUNDING

100%

EQUITY-FREE

Testimonials

"Highly recommend the What If Fellowship to entrepreneurs in the mental health space. The Fellowship helped us refine our roadmap, understand better how to navigate the mental health space and connect with other passionate entrepreneurs. With focused deep dives and amazing guest speakers, it was a highly enriching experience at very little cost to early startup founders."

Deepa Vivekanandan
MixLife - CEO

“My favorite part of the fellowship was hearing industry experts like Dr. Tom Insel talk about their perspective on the trajectory of the mental healthcare industry."

Mackenzie Drazan
CEO of MiResource

"I learned more about the mental health space in the first 3 weeks at What If Ventures Fellowship, as an Explorer, than I have researching it on my own the last 6 months."

Charlie Parkin
Head of Sales - MVF

"The What If Fellowship completely changed our trajectory. We started the Fellowship with a MVP and a lot of uncertainty about the path forward. We ended it as a real business, ready to get out there and make it happen. Over the course of the 8 weeks, we made hard decisions and got to learn from the best. I can’t imagine a better way to spend 2 months."

Alex Klein
SelfSci - CEO

"What If helped us define our true customer problem and not just the "subplot". We also appreciated the access to influencers, sales channel partners, and investors in the space. I'd recommend the program to other mental health, wellness, and fitness companies who want to learn from people living through some of the same problems these products are trying to solve."

Sarah Hill
Healium - CEO

"Steven and the team are fantastic. Not only do they help with getting your business model right for the mental health space, but they connect you with all the brightest minds in the field who are pioneering its impact."

Alejandro Serrano
uMore - Chief Scientific Officer
APPLY NOW

Week to Week Programming

How To Pitch

We outline the program and cover some high level themes around business model validation, pitch deck, finance, and a few others. We walk through an example of what a great pitch to investors looks like and we spend time coaching you on how to get the most out of the program while preparing you for your first pitch practice sessions.

entrepreneurial finance

We teach a crash course in entrepreneurial finance covering topics such as how much capital to raise, what valuation is fair, how VCs think and how they evaluate you, cap table math, financial forecasting etc. At the end of this week, we host an example modeling session where we build a current cohort company’s model live, from scratch, on a screen shared with everyone so you can learn how VCs think about forecasts and projections at startups. We provide templates for forecasting, cap tables, and more.

mental health business models

This week we will focus on understanding the different business models within the behavioral healthcare space, and the different go-to-market strategies in the space. This is a chance for you to dig into what your model is, what it should be, and how you can make it better as you refine your pitch.

fundraising process / legal

We have a startup lawyer who conducts a seminar on the basics of “startup law.” We talk about the different structures (SAFE, Convert, Equity, etc) and the considerations between them as well as entity creation, fundraising dynamics and more. We host a second instructional session, with another lawyer, where we dig into legal structuring of healthcare companies and how that works across jurisdictions as well as how you should plan for the future when creating your new entity.

market sizing / idea validation

We will share our market sizing research, how we pitch it to our investors, and other resources to help you clearly define your market opportunity (TAM) for investors. This will include access to research for defending your market size answers with investors. During this phase we will also work with you to build a plan to conduct customer discovery and idea validation.

pitch deck intensive

Intensive focus on putting together what you've learned in prior weeks to deliver the ideal pitch deck, unique to your business. There will be group work, 1-on-1 coaching and iterative reviews and more coaching. This week will also include a "practice pitch" where you will share your 3-minute "elevator pitch" in front of your peers for feedback from your peers, from us and from a select group of our investors.

demo day prep / dry run

This week is all about getting you ready for demo day, refining your pitch deck, and answering your questions as all the components of the program come together from forecasting, to business plan, customer discovery and valuation. We will rehearse your 3-minute pitch and ensure you have properly incorporated all the feedback you received to date.

Demo Day

On demo day, you will get to pitch to 300+ mental health focused investors including angels, VCs, some of our own investors, and many others who are supportive members of the mental health care community. Some of you will seek funding, some of you will be looking for partnerships, and some will be looking for other connections. Demo day is the perfect place to deliver the perfect pitch and find help from our community for taking your business to the next level.

Program Components / Weekly Events

Monday Topic Sessions

Lecture sessions where we present a new topic each week (as outlined above higher on this page) that will help founders refine their business, and their pitch.

Friday Working Groups

This is a chance to gather as a group and ask questions of the What If Ventures team, tactical, or strategic, and collaborate with your peers.

Speaker Sessions

Founders learn from those who have built billion dollar businesses in this space, and those who are clinical experts in the mental health field.  Our founders gain unique insights, and access to the leading minds in the mental health space.

Pitch Practice

Weekly practice pitch sessions, in front of investors who have funded mental health startups, in order to get direct feedback and learn from the feedback your peers get as well.

Featured Speakers

Past Speakers/Guests

Michael Smith
Co-Founder and CEO,
Calm
Alyson Watson
Founder and CEO,
Modern Health
Megan Bell
Chief Science Officer,
Headspace
Sean McBride
Employee #3,
Lyra
Kristian Rantu
Founder & CEO,
Meru Health
Karan Singh
Founder,
Ginger

Partners

These companies graciously provide their time and resources to the Fellowship to help support the next generation of mental health founders.

Who Is This For?

The Builder

You have identified a problem worth solving, you know what you want to build, or have built it with initial traction and revenue. You want to leverage our community, experience, and passion to accelerate your progress toward sales, partnerships and fundraising.

The Explorer

You want to help people with mental health, but you don’t know exactly what you want to build yet. You could be a clinician wanting to help more people, or a founder contemplating numerous ideas. We have a special discounted program just for you where you get to leverage our network even though you may not be ready to raise venture capital.

Our goal is the same for both people. We want to help you bring your passion to life in a business that can help save lives. You're interested in this space for a reason. This problem is personal to you, just as it is to us.

Apply For Our Next Cohort

Program Price: $2,500 for an 8-week accelerator program.

A discount is available for our Explorer program.

Applications for Cohort 6 are now open, and will close on December 4, 2021.

Seats are very limited, and we accept on a rolling basis.