Launching a business is by no means an easy task, let alone during a pandemic. But for Courtney Carlsson – the CEO and Founder of a new emotional identity coaching app, Paradym – it’s played in her favour. “We've already had really nice feedback,” shares Courtney, from her family home where she’s Zooming from. “I got a message the other day, from a woman saying, ‘thank you so much for sharing Paradym and thank you for sharing for free during this time.’ It was really important to me that people had a solution that was accessible and they could use, because I think it's a time when people need this more than ever.”

More than just a wellness app or a place to find inspirational quotes, Paradym is a safe space “to help people become more self aware and dig deeper into their emotional patterns, then break those negative patterns to make space for the more positive ones.” Starting the business in 2017, it’s taken years to build the team and develop the app to what it is today. “I think part of what's special about Paradym is that we use both experience and science,” explains Courtney. “I think there's a lot of really great scientific solutions on the market that really just focus on science, but they feel a little bit clinical and cold. Or on the flip side, there are some great solutions that focus on stories but are maybe more on the Marketing side, and then there's no science. So we use both, and I think that's a really important part of what we're doing.”

Much like many founders of successful businesses, Courtney spotted a gap in the market after needing the product for herself. After a 10 year stint in New York working within the fashion industry, Courtney’s return to the UK came with the realisation that her previous relationships with her friends and family hadn’t just been put on pause, and that there was healing to be done. “I had a history of emotional volatility: some days I was really good and some days not so good. I decided to start with therapy and to start with myself first, to figure myself out a little bit more, and in turn that was the beginning of the journey,” speaks Courtney, who sees her app as an approachable pitstop for those in between therapy sessions, or way of teaching emotional introspection for those who can’t afford a session. “I think there’s a stat from the World Health Organisation that there are 1.67 billion people globally who actually want mental health care, but they cannot access it. So for those people, what's the alternative?”

This mindset is part of an ongoing mission for the company. Our interview is conducted after the first version of the app has launched, and Courtney explains that this demo is focused on trying to build partnerships rather than their customer base. Currently in conversation with WeWork along with many other conglomerates, Courntey wants Paradym to be the helping mental health tool for employees. “I used to work for another mental health startup a couple of years ago, and I remember it was really challenging for them to get people to even be on board for a pilot mental health app that could help their employees,” tells Courtney. “They had all the stats about how it can cost X, Y, and Z when your employees are unhappy, but people didn't see it, or maybe they just didn't see the value. What's positive about what's happening now is that people really understand and see the value of taking care of yourself from a mental perspective.”

The company may be starting off small – currently with only 7 employees – but the dream is big. “My dream one day is for people to be able to get prescribed Paradym, where you get a specific dosage of how much you should be using it. It should be that granular. It should be that simple. We just haven't as a society put enough resources into mental health yet, and that’s happening now which is awesome. But I think as an industry we’re still in the early stages.”

A business that’s profoundly relevant and has managed to surpass the difficulties brought through Coronavirus; is motivational in itself. But one that is set to better the person using it, is a beacon of hope and inspiration for budding do-gooders and entrepreneurs during a dark and tumultuous time. 

Paradym is available to download here.

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