Welcome to Startup of the Week. A column highlighting BC’s most innovative and exciting tech startups. Today, we’re featuring Victoria’s Rootd.
If you’ve ever endured a panic attack, you know how debilitating they can be. Rootd, the Canadian made and female founded wellness app, wants to change that. The app helps users to manage their anxiety and panic attacks on their terms, as they happen.
We spoke to Ania Wysocka, Founder and CEO of Rootd, to learn more about her story, what future trends might impact Rootd and how she winds down after a long day.
Q: Pretend I’m your Grandma, explain what your company does.
A: Rootd is anxiety and panic attack relief in your pocket. We are the #1 ranked mobile app for panic attack and anxiety relief on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, blending engaging design with therapist-approved lessons and exercises to help users find immediate and long term relief from anxiety and panic attacks.
Q: Do you have a motto or quote that inspires you?
A: “Passion fuels you”
I used to think this type of quote was corny, but it’s so true. I don’t need deadlines or external pressures to motivate me to work on Rootd—I truly love and enjoy it. All the better that I see incredible user reviews come in every day that help fuel the flame of that passion.
Q: What don’t people know about Rootd that they should?
A: There are a few things that come to mind:
- The Rootd app’s in-the-moment panic attack tool is available offline. While this makes the app size a bit bigger—due to storing files locally—it also means it’s available when users need it most (think: being trapped in an elevator or somewhere without service) and users really appreciate that.
- While the most popular country for Rootd is the US, that is closely followed by Brazil. I call the decision to translate Rootd into Portuguese a “non-business business decision”, because the idea came from a 2017 World Health Organization report and the desire to help. Despite not knowing how to market in Brazil, the growth happened organically.
- The name “Rootd” comes from the idea of being rooted in the ground like a giant tree. Giant trees may sway in wind and storms, but their roots run deep and it takes a lot to topple them over—just like it takes a lot to “topple over” someone who’s grounded. I wish roots like these for all Rootd users.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Excitement for all the things I have planned with Rootd! It can be tough to turn off after a busy day. While reading before bed helps, I have to make sure the book I read isn’t related to business or I get worked up and excited again, visualizing the outcomes of what a new feature, design improvement or content piece can (and will) do.
Q: You were a top 10 company in the 2020 New Ventures BC Competition. How has going through the competition helped you grow your company?
A: By nature of being on the app store and globally accessible, a lot of my focus is often in other countries and regions, so the New Ventures BC competition helped me spend time with BC-based mentors and peers, which I really appreciated and enjoyed. Working with my mentor team and building out Rootd’s pro-forma financials was also a big project, and has been helpful in conversations since the competition.
Q: Is there a future trend that you think will most impact Rootd?
A: I think that audio and voice recognition will be an important future trend that will impact Rootd. We were an early adopter of audio by including spoken statements in the main “Rootr” panic button feature. A symptom of panic attacks can be blurred vision, so it is important to include audio wherever there is text. The journaling tool, for example, may have voice-to-text software in future, making it easier to take notes on the go!
Q: What’s your favourite way to de-stress after a long day?
A: My favourite way to de-stress after a long day is to stretch while a TV show plays in the background (the funnier the better), followed by a hot bath with a good book. Reading a book helps give me a break from blue light which allows me to wind down before bed.
Rootd offers group plans for companies wanting to demonstrate care for their employee mental health. These plans offer full premium access to Rootd and future updates in all seven (and counting) languages. This enables employees to access support on their own terms, reduces absenteeism and turnover, and builds a healthier work life. Click here to find out more.
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