Seeking Investment: CBT-Toolkit

One Line Pitch: CBT-Toolkit will develop inexpensive mobile applications for the Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android platforms to enable users to apply clinically tested cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to improve mood, reduce depression and combat anxiety.

Business Summary: Do you know someone who suffers from depression, anxiety, ADD or insomnia? CBT is the fastest growing type of therapy and has become the “first line” of mental health treatment in many countries. There are over 30,000 CBT therapists in Europe alone. The British NHS says it needs an additional 10,000 therapists to meet demand. There are also life and business coaches using CBT in their practices.

CBT is a highly analytical, time-limited form of therapy using forms, charts and spreadsheets that readily lend themselves to computerization on mobile devices and the Internet. CBT-Toolkit will bring the core tools of CBT (daily thought records, activity sheets, choice scales) to the platforms Gen-Y and Millenial users are most comfortable with. The service will sport a fun and engaging interface with interactive feedback.

Management: We passionately believe in the value of CBT. Founder Brian Blum has tried a number of different types of therapy over the years and CBT was by far the most effective. A serial entrepreneur, Brian has started several companies, raised $3 million for online publishing company Neta4, served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Jerusalem Global Ventures, and worked as a VP of Marketing for Comverse.

Sara Avitzur and Bracha Zorenberg will be consulting to CBT-Toolkit on content, functionality and testing. Sara is a respected CBT therapist at the Hadassah Center for Psychotrauma. Bracha provides CBT counseling at Jerusalem’s Nativ clinic. We are in the process of putting together a full advisory board of cognitive behavioral therapists.

Customer Need: CBT is a proven form of therapy for treating a variety of mental health issues. While many individuals seek out therapist-provided CBT, even more read self-help books or use one of the growing number of self-help CBT websites. Indeed, self-help courses of study are the fastest growing segment of CBT, as HMOs and insurance companies push these services to control costs.

Clients, however, are notoriously poor at following through with homework and with on-going maintenance. CBT-Toolkit is designed to complement the mostly static content provided by current options by adding interactive mobile and web tools that are compelling to use, and that are available anywhere and at any time.

Product/Services: CBT-Toolkit will take advantage of the meteoric rise of smart phones and tablet computing devices to build an easy-to-use application where with four separate modules in which users can conveniently enter data, choose from drop down lists of “cognitive distortions,” rank emotions and beliefs, and call up past sessions for review whenever – and wherever – issues arise.

Phase I will focus on an all mobile app for the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad. In Phase II we will expand to the Android platform. Phase III will include building a website that synchronizes data from the app and allows text entry from the web.

CBT-Toolkit can be used by individuals alone or in conjunction with a therapist. CBT-Toolkit will email a summary of all user data which can be used by a therapist. Rather than recreate the extensive self-help content that already exists, the CBT-Toolkit site will indicate at which sections and pages in these books and courses our tools can be used.

Business Model: The CBT-Toolkit iPhone, iPad and Android applications will cost between $4.99 – $9.99 to download. Web access will be included in the price. There will be no charge for users to email a copy of their work to their therapists

Competitors: There are currently several CBT apps for the iPhone including: “iCBT Feeling Good,” “eCBT Mood,” and “CBT Referee.” Each has only a limited subset of the functionality proposed for CBT-Toolkit which will differentiate itself primarily via its full complement of services.

On the web, there are a number of self-help courses, each of which includes extensive content to walk patients through the CBT process but does not include interactive tools. HealthMedia charges $29 for unlimited access to its course. AnxietyOnline, MoodGym and eCouch are all free. Popular CBT books include David Burn’s best-seller “Feeling Good” (5 million copies in print), Dennis Greenberger’s “Mind Over Mood,” “Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life,” and even “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dummies”

Marketing. We will market CBT-Toolkit direct to consumer via the various app stores and via the web using significant SEO to own specific CBT-related keywords. Where appropriate, we will encourage therapists and coaches to recommend CBT-Toolkit to their patients. The latter may be via groups such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and through attendance at psychological & CBT conferences.

Future directions: Numerous research studies show that the success rate of self-help CBT can be significantly increased by adding email-based “eTherapy.” We will consider building a component that enables interested individuals to locate a qualified eTherapist from within the CBT-Toolkit app and website. Payment will be handled by CBT-Toollkit and we will receive a percentage of any fees charged.

Beyond email-based assistance, CBT-Toolkit may build the ability for therapists to monitor what their clients are working on directly via a Basecamp-like interface that manages multiple clients at once. Therapists and clients would communicate within the application, commenting directly on work via messaging and visual “post-it notes.”

Opportunity: CBT-Toolkit is not just another hi-tech investment opportunity. It is a product that will literally change people’s lives. With your help, we can make it happen!

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