A health tech startup in Jeffersonville has received a $20,000 investment from Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures. Moxie Girl, which was launched last year by a former executive at Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), has developed an online platform designed to improve the mental health and confidence of preteen and teenage girls through personal goal setting and achievement. Co-founder Lydia Henshaw says the funding will be used for product development, brand awareness and customer development.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Henshaw said mental health issues cost the country $12 billion a year and Moxie Girl is focused on helping solve the problem.
“We know that evidence shows that if girls can set and achieve girls, they can increase their belief in themselves and confidence at its basis means, ‘I believe I can’ and self-efficacy is really what’s its founded in,” said Henshaw. “So our platform helps girls set goals, helps them achieve their goals, and then also connects them to near-peer college mentors; so these are college females all across the country that are trained to be coaches for them that can coach lasting impact and lasting ability into preteen and teen girls at a time of life when they need it the most.”
Henshaw got the idea for the startup while working at Procter & Gamble. She says she hired an executive coach to help her develop more confidence in her leadership position.
“At the same time, I was working with the Always and the Tampax brands at P&G and really uncovering this massive problem that millions of girls lose their confidence when they go through teenage years and so a light bulb went off because I thought, ‘Wow, if millions of girls are facing this…and realizing if I know what that feels like as a woman in an executive position, I remember middle school, what if we can take these same principles that I’ve been going through for my own moxie and power them through technology to millions of girls across the U.S. and one day across the world, that is an opportunity to really drive change right when the problem starts, which is teen years.”
Henshaw and her executive coach, Heather Moster, partnered to launch Moxie Girl last year. The company uses a mobile app to provide video mentoring and group coaching to help improve emotional wellness and confidence in teen girls.
One of the unique aspects of the company is that teen girls themselves are helping the company to develop the platform with help from the Elevate Ventures funding.
“The first thing we’re starting to do with this funding is we’re actually co-creating the app now with teens. So we have an incredible teen advisory panel; they’re really teaching us how to be more hip and more cool (laughing) and understand really how to build the tech in a way that speaks to them, in a way that meets where their at. And then we’re using it for business development.”
Henshaw says a major target for the company is pediatricians. The company has launched its mobile app with pediatric firms, including Intown Pediatrics in Atlanta, to give to their female teen patients.
“That’s a key intersection point for meeting mental needs head-on and also giving support to the pediatric community in a time when girls are going through a lot of changes.”
Henshaw says the ultimate goal is to create 10 million confident girls. In the short-term, the company is looking to grow the app in the medical community in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio and West Virginia, but further growth is expected. She says they want to create an evidence-based impact in mental health for adolescent girls.
“Five years from now, that’s our expectation is we will be able to declaratively give evidence to show how Moxie Girl has decreased the stigma associated with it and also driven radical change.”
Additionally, Henshaw says the company has a goal to expand the program to adolescent boys as well.
Moxie Girl is currently participating in the Elevate Origins pre-accelerator program. The newly-awarded funding comes from Elevate Ventures’ Community Ideation Fund.
Henshaw says mental health issues cost the country $12 billion a year and Moxie Girl has set out to help solve the problem.