Nurau, the new Uber for corporate mental health

“We face a lot of mental health issues where companies aren’t equipped,” said Nurau founder and president Justin Lessard-Wajcer. (Photo: courtesy)

Montreal startup Nurau distinguished itself by winning the first prize in the TechPreneur de PME MTL competition last week as well as being designated today as one of Startup Montreal’s 20 2022 Revelations.

The company founded and led by Justin Lessard-Wajcer will receive $ 30,000 and $ 20,000 respectively for these two awards.

Founded in 2020, Nurau launched an app in February that allows employees and managers to take 15-minute mental health micro-trainings with a live expert they can interact with.

“It’s a great recognition that society needs new solutions to solve the problems of stress, anxiety and fatigue,” the young leader said in a telephone interview about the awards. We are faced with many mental health issues for which companies do not have the equipment.

Lots of ambition

This start-up already has clients such as Ardene, BAM Strategy and Axxel-Bromelin, while Desjardins and FTQ are among the potential clients. He hopes to reach 250,000 people by 2024.

“We want to be global,” said the neuroscientist who is doing a doctorate at McGill. We want to be the next Montreal unicorn with a capitalization of one billion dollars. We are talking to insurers in the United States to establish themselves in this country by 2024. ”

Meanwhile, those who want to change the world’s outlook on mental health are trying to raise $ 1 million by the end of July to fund its expansion. The SME strives to offer its services in Ontario and British Columbia.

Help businesses

The heart of Nurau’s offer consists in allowing employees to choose micro-training provided on the internet by an expert who is interested in them. They are usually included in a series of six exercises on the same theme.

“The employee can select them according to the time that suits him and his interests,” says Justin Lessard-Wajcer. For example, the parent can select those in work-life balance while the manager can follow the respondents. on how to deal with a tired or depressed employee.

Its artificial intelligence algorithms can suggest learning according to the emotions, schedule and interests of the participants. The aggregated data collected in the questionnaires is also used by companies to better understand the overall state of their staff.

The boss argues that his startup is somewhat similar to Uber: it connects with mental health experts who offer training to employees and executives who want to learn more. Its approach is based largely on a logic of avoidance.

“We want to combine employee mental health training with social interaction and well-being,” he said. Within 15 minutes, we maximized learning. Very accessible, like having coffee. Our utilization rate is 30-35%, while that of employee support services is only 1-3%. The return on investment in our application is huge. ”

Justin Lessard-Wajcer believes his SME offer helps demystify mental health problems, better manage them and open the door to other specialized services, such as psychology, before be all late.

“About 80% of health claims are related to mental health,” he said. We want to work upstream to reduce that. We hope to avoid being a reaction to a problem, to address it before burnout appears.

He argues that his approach allows companies to save significantly on medical costs while increasing productivity. By affirming this, they also show their employees that they care about their well -being, an important aspect for employee satisfaction. According to the head of Nurau, it also helps in establishing sensitivity to these issues in organizations.

But despite the workplace, he wanted to equip participants to deal with these issues, so that they could not only better take care of themselves, but also those around them.

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