Derek Luk, Founder & CEO Of Mindful Mental Training
An interview with Derek Luk, Founder & CEO Of Mindful Mental Training
For those unfamiliar, please explain what Mindful Mental Training does.
Mindful Mental Training aims to provide an online platform allowing people to manage issues relating to mental health. By combining our popular online programs, chatbot for health and a proprietary content management system, we are building a mobile mindfulness platform that provides personalized care that is backed by clinical evidence.
Why do you do it? What problem are you solving?
Even though a lot has changed, our vision has been the same from the start. We want to provide a resource for mental health that is accessible, affordable and effective.
“The health care system is so reactive, which is why innovation is crucial if we want to make prevention a priority.”
What motivated you to apply to be a showcase company at Launch Party 2015?
During one of my sleepless nights, I realized I needed to do something to get my idea out there. I was online looking up things relating to startups in Calgary when I stumbled across Launch Party. I think I ended up applying at 2:00am.
Highlights since Launch Party 2015
What are some significant milestones that your company has achieved since being showcased at Launch Party 2015?
We recently finished the creative design for our app. Trying to figure out how to make something that people want to use, that looks nice and also delivers the functions and features that we need it to has been a huge challenge.
When I went to Seattle to do research, I realized we should partner with Primary Care Networks to manage mental illness in the community in an affordable and preventative way. Family doctors can help you treat yourself from home and prevent future disruptions to quality of life.
What does your company have in store for the fall of 2016?
We will be developing the basic functionality of our MVP app in the Fall. We are applying for funding to build on the more extensive features of the app, and combining the content management system and chatbot so they can exist as a comprehensive, multi-channel service.
How did Launch Party benefit you?
Launch Party gave us the chance receive validation. I basically walked in with just an idea. When I looked at the competition, the other startups were quite advanced. I realized that we were onto something when we were moving ahead in the competition.
Because of my background in nursing, I didn’t have a strong business sense when I first started. Support from the Startup Calgary mentors led to a real period of growth for the business.
How can startups make the most of their experience with Launch Party?
Find a way to convey the key features of what you offer that doesn’t require you to talk to people. The night flies by and it is easy to get tied up in conversations. Providing something visual will help you get more exposure and interest.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea on the back of a napkin into the marketplace?
Find a way to make your idea a reality. It’s hard to rationalize committing time, money and effort to something you are uncertain about. “Take a leap, and build the rocketship on the way down,” is how Stephen King, one of my Launch Party 2015 mentors, explained it.
Learn from rejection. We had a lot of people say no to us. We were sent back to the drawing board quite a few times. People said we needed to think bigger and find a way to make more money.
Don’t quit your job before you start to make money, it adds a lot of stress. Find a way to balance keeping yourself financially stable while still prioritizing the needs of your business.
Launch Party 2016 took place on Thursday, November 17, 2016.
Published February 18, 2017