The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Jeronimo Beccar is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jero, dog lover, proud dad of 10-month-old-Tommy, and husband of Guillermo (who works in finance). And, I have an unconventional path to healthcare. I began my career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, working for Disney and Warner Brothers. Since my teenage years I was fascinated by the emotions conveyed through visual and auditory experiences – and all the technology behind those creations. But life brought me back home to Argentina where I started a company developing tech for government lighting applications. During this time, a friend of mine who had failed antidepressants for years died by suicide. I did not realize how this event would impact my professional life until years later – and a small exit in 2015 – led to moving to Boston with my partner who was starting his MBA at MIT.
What did it take / how did you get started?
During grad school, I took time to dig deep into mental health care, specifically for people who do not respond to traditional antidepressants — which is roughly 30% of the 50 million US adults on antidepressant. So, I decided to solve for those folks who are falling through the cracks. A bit more background into the state of healthcare: in 2021, a record amount of funding ($5.1 billion) went into mental health startups. In particular to companies focusing on access to care, those that serve as a ‘doorway’ to mental health services offering coaching, talk therapy, and mailed-in medication. And a great deal of funding went into novel mental health treatments new brain stimulation and psychedelic therapies. As the ‘doorway’ to mental health grows and novel treatments hit the market, it is time for Hyka to help those patients who are falling through the cracks. For those patients in virtual care that psychotherapy and medication are not enough, Hyka is here to help them access the latest mental health treatments — from brain stimulation to psychedelics.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
We are working to scale our company into a high-touch, patient centric care navigation platform. In the future, we see ourselves playing a mayor role in helping patients get to all areas of care that have high access barriers.
What drives / motivates you?
The journey, not the outcome. All the multiple founders, advisors, investors that I meet through this entrepreneurial journey are an inspiration to keep on working to improve the lives of people who need the most help.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Starting a company in healthcare is hard and the learning curve is extremely steep. Especially if you come from a different background. However, any progress that you manage to make will be extremely fulfilling. What is more, the people working in the space are all working to improve other people’s lives — that’s incredibly inspiring in it of self.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
Learning that solving a problem for a patient does not mean that you have a business. In healthcare, unfortunately, interests are misaligned. What might benefit a patient, does not benefit an insurance company. So, you need to have a deep understanding of all the stakeholders involved and work of a solution that aligns interests across stakeholders.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
Beyond what you can read on books and find online, get out and talk to experts, users, customers — learn from them, take advice. This exercise will not only enrich your knowledge and teach you how to dissect the advice you receive, but it will also help you build a network that you can rely on. And this network will become one of your most valuable assets as you start and scale your company.
Side or full-time hustle?
List the founders
Evan Smith — product & tech lead
Nick Nissen, MD — head of psychiatry
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
Around $150k to have an MVP
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
We have raised roughly $0.5M from pharma, health tech, and software investors.
Any call to action?
For those folks who are working at virtual care companies and want to expand your treatment offerings for your mental health population, please, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.