I’m often asked why Alberts Impact Ventures has mental health and wellbeing as one of our theme areas and what do we look for when making investments. Investing in solutions that contribute to positive mental health and wellbeing make sound commercial sense, but it’s also something we care about personally and believe is critical for a healthy thriving world.
A bit of background
Mental health and wellbeing was always something we cared about as a family. Even before the fund, the business had been built on music and entertainment and there is compelling research that shows the positive effects music and the arts have on mental health. We set up our philanthropic foundation in 2012 with one of the aims being to support young people experiencing mental health challenges. Five years later my generation got together to talk about the future of Alberts following the sale of a large part of our music business. In thinking about what was most important to us in reshaping the business and creating a legacy for future generations, we all agreed mental health was an area we felt passionately about. We saw it as being such a critical part of the healthy thriving world we wanted for the generations to come.
What really crystallised the challenges in this space for me and a desire to try to do something was when someone very close to me went through a long period of depression and anxiety with some awful low points. I saw first-hand just how challenging if not impossible it was to get the right help and support, navigate the hugely complex system, get a hospital bed when you needed it, try to get the right diagnosis, monitor what was happening, minimise the stigma and try to keep on top of my family, my work and myself at the same time. And I kept reading and hearing similar stories and similar challenges. It really made me think how exciting it would be to be able to support a solution that could actually make a difference and help address some of these problems.
What’s happened since
With the impact of Covid, the Productivity and Victorian Royal Commissions and the latest Federal budget, it feels like there’s never been such a focus on the importance of mental health and an appetite for solutions. In many ways, we’re at the forefront in Australia.
While it’s great to see the government focus, we know there are still significant challenges to solve and that’s where we see a role for venture capital, whether it’s supporting innovative approaches at scale, providing funding to trial new solutions or taking risks where the government can’t. Investor interest in mental health is larger today than it’s ever been, in fact, funding reached a record high of $1.3b for mental health in Q2 21*. And for Alberts in particular it feels like the right time and where we want to take the business, we have the benefit of patient capital, an interest in both commercial and impact returns and a team and network that we can draw on.
What areas are we interested in?
At Alberts Impact Ventures, we are particularly interested in mental health and wellbeing solutions that:
- Give more people faster, better access to the right services for them
- Provide early detection and prevention of mental ill-health
- Provide mental health and wellbeing insights, analysis and support in the workplace
- Aggregate data insights to better understand outcomes and improve treatments
As with all of our early stage investments, we are looking for pioneering founders who are passionate about what they do, bring subject knowledge and an evidence base, a business model driven by positive impact and an innovative product or solution with potential for real scale.
We also recognise mental health is hugely complex, multi-dimensional and that there can be serious ethical issues and risks involved. Our goal is to invest in opportunities built on a strong evidence base that can scale and that contribute to enhanced mental health and well-being. We know we don’t have all the answers and we’re continuing to think through the ethical issues involved. We’re interested in connecting to founders and investors who have ideas in this space.
This is a journey of discovery not just for Alberts but for all of society. We feel really excited to be on the journey, working with some amazing people and trying to address some of the challenges we’re facing. If you’re working on something in mental health and wellbeing please get in contact, we’d love to hear from you.
*Source: CB Insights