From launch to a $10M Series A in under a year

Thorough audience testing for scalable results

Democratizing Mental Wellbeing

  • Mental health: an ongoing priority

    To support mental health, there have historically been few solutions beyond the expensive, inaccessible standard of one-to-one therapy or psychiatric treatment. While in college, Real founder Ariela Safira's close friend underwent a significant mental health struggle, which exposed Ariela to the flaws of the standard mental health support system. She realized the space needed to be shaken up. After several years working on developing an alternative approach to mental health support, she launched disruptor Real.

    Real is a proactive mental wellbeing membership and an affordable alternative to traditional 1:1 therapy. They offer a range of on-demand interactive mental health workshops through desktop, iOS, and Android platforms. Participants can engage with the session whenever works best for them - which provides a fresh option that brings therapy into today’s world.

    For pricing, Real works like a subscription service. Memberships start at $28/month and include a host of services like therapy Pathways, member events, progress tracking, and roundtables, which makes consistent, ongoing self-improvement easy.

    We’ve been working with Real since early 2020, when they were getting ready to launch.

  • Strategy

    There have been three main strategy phases: launch, audience exploration, and scaling.

    During launch, the goal was to quickly assess and gain insights about the product/market fit - it was essential to find the market positioning, value propositions and gain our first subscribers. Initially, the plan was for Real to provide in-person care in New York, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Real to pivot and create an online product during the first weeks of the pandemic. We soon ascertained that there was a strong and growing demand for this innovative online therapy model, which encouraged us to begin the audience exploration phase nationwide. A comprehensive ad and audience testing structure gave perspective in order to fine-tune and optimize campaigns for scaling.

  • Launch

    At launch, we established two marketing focuses: Prospecting (to find high-potential audiences and build brand awareness) and Retargeting (to obtain conversions from audiences that had shown interest).

    The first step: define a budget split that would allow for the channels with the largest opportunities to test and scale. Facebook and Instagram were identified as the best platforms for growth, though we also explored within Google Ads, TikTok, and Twitter.

    The main focus: Efficient Cost-per-Acquisition goals. It was therefore essential to quickly find the approach that would drive the most conversions.

    Our creative team brainstormed different visual approaches. Since Real is a product that can interest a broad range of people, we had a lot of fun coming up with ideas:

    • Press


    • Speaks your language

      Speaks your language

    • Offer and Features

      Offer and Features

  • Our data team helped us identify the best-performing creative on which to double down.

    When it came time to retarget audiences that had already expressed some interest, we structured our campaigns to optimize for events at the bottom of the funnel.

  • Audience Exploration

    In our next phase, we had one goal: to understand the Real audience. While many insights had been gained during the launch phase, we wanted to dive much deeper into specific targeting and testing to learn what the true differentiators for Real are, how to best talk about Real, and how to tailor the message to different audiences.

    We knew that the price and concept were appealing to consumers, but we wanted to understand why.

    We tested several value propositions:

    • Anonymity

    • Price

    • Building a relationship with yourself

    • Creating Strength and Resilience

    • Validation

    • Help with life phases such as starting a family

    • Working with therapists that speak your language

  • During this testing phase, we discovered that coastal urban and rural audiences responded very differently to distinct messaging strategies. This insight allowed us to build funnels for each demographic.

  • Another key demographic could be convinced when applying Real to daily and social contexts, for example to help improve a romantic or work relationship.

  • For men, we tested a round of creatives centered around self-reflective questions and expected outcomes.

  • Scaling

    Thanks to the insights from the testing phase, we are able to bring together winning messaging to craft creatives best tailored to our audiences. This has been crucial for the scaling phase, which began officially in April 2021 when Real completed their Series A fundraising.

  • Results

    In April 2021, less than a year after launch, Real raised $10M in Series A financing, with high-stakes investors such as soccer champion Megan Rapinoe and Minnesota Vikings’ Eric Kendricks.

    As we help Real bring mental health to the masses, we are guided by scalability and innovation:

    “Though effective to some, one-on-one therapy is a deeply flawed model—it is financially inaccessible to the majority of Americans, it cannot scale at a rate that matches the demonstrated need for mental health care and the experience itself is unappealing to many people,” Safira, CEO, recently told FierceHealthcare. “It hasn’t changed in over a hundred years. We are living in a mental health crisis, and the current system isn’t solving it.”

Get in touch with us.

We are headquartered in New York.

  • New York City
    123 William St, Floor 22