Andrea Campos has struggled with depression since she was eight mental health. It started as a personal project, but as she talked to more people, Campos realized that many others might benefit from the system.. Over the years, she’s tried all sorts of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy. In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she learned to program and created a system to help manage her
So she built an application to to mental health tools for Spanish-speaking people and began testing it with a small group. At first, Campos herself was her chatbot, texting with users who were tired of dealing with depression. “During the month, I was pretending I was an app and would send these of activities they had to complete during the day, such as writing in a gratitude journal, and then asking them how those activities made them feel,” Campos recalls.
The results from her small experiment were encouraging. She thought that sometimes with comes “a lot of avoidance,” where people resist potential treatment out of fear. So, Campos conducted a more significant sample of experiments and raised about $10,000 via a crowdfunding campaign. With that money, she hired a , mainly via Facebook Messenger.
Then an earthquake hit , and that developer lost everything — including his home and computer — and had to relocate. “I was left with nothing,” Campos says. But that developer introduced her to another, who disappeared with his payment and again left Campos “with nothing.”
“I realized at the beginning of 2019 I was going to have to do this by myself,” Campos said. So she used a site that she described as a “Wix for chatbots” and created one herself. After experimenting with the app with a sample of 700 people, Campos was even more encouraged and raised an angel for Yana, the startup behind her app.
(Yana is an acronym for “You Are Not Alone.”) By early 2020, with just three months of runway left, she pivoted to create an app with chatbot integration that wasn’t just limited to us via Facebook Messenger. Campos launched more broadly during the same week that her city in Mexico went into quarantine.
At first, she said, she saw “normal, steady growth.” But then, on October 10, 2020, cell phone go crazy,” Campos recalls. “Everything went nuts. I had to return because our servers were exploding since they were not used to having that volume.”highlighted Yana for International Mental Health Day, and the response was overwhelming. “It was also my birthday, so I was at a spa in a nearby town, relaxing, when I started hearing my
As a result of that exposure, Yana had around 80,000users two weeks later. Soon after, as one of the best for personal growth in 2020, leading to anotuser spikesers. Today, Yana is about to hit the five million-user mark and is led by Mexico’s ALLVP, which has also invested in the likes of Cornershop, Flink, and Nuvocargo.
When the pandemic hit, six of Yana’s nine-person team decided to quarantine together in a “startup house” in Cancun to focus on building the company. Earlier this year, the , Magma, and Hustle Fund. The ALLVP, which was intrigued but wanted to wait until it could write a more extensive check. That time is now, and Yana is among the top three in Mexico and 12 countries, including Spain, Chile, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
According to Campos, with its new capital, Yana plans to “move away from the depression/anxiety narrative”. “We want to compete in the wellness space,” she told TechCrunch. “Many people were looking for us to deal with crises such as a breakup or a loss, but then theyalways see a necessity to keep using Yana for longer than the crisis lasted.”
Some people would download theafter another crisis. “We don’t want to be that app anymore,” Campos said. “We want to focus on whole wellness and and transmit something that needs to be built daily, just like we do with exercise.”
Moving forward, Yana aims to help people with their mental health not just during a crisis but with activities they can do daily, including a gratitude journal, a mood tracker, and meditation — “things that prevent depression and anxiety,” Campos said. “We want to be a vitamin for our soul and keep people mentally healthy on an ongoing basis,” she said. “We a community inside our application.”
ALLVP’s Federico Antoni is enthusiastic about the startup’s potential. He first met Campos when she participated in anin 2017 and then again recently. The firm because it “wanted to be on her team.” “She [Campos] has turned into an amazing leader, and we realized her potential and strength,” he said. “Plus, Yana is an amazing product. When you download it, like you can see a soul in there.”