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Startup Founder Mental Health: Our Top 3 takeaways & resources from our February Town Hall

Photo credit to Marshall Lu, UBC alumni and Co-founder of CORE Venture, envollo

Every month, we have the opportunity to come together as an ecosystem and share in each others news, announcements and accomplishments. For February, we wanted to take a different approach and breach a topic that should be on everyone's mind: startup founder mental health.

Being a founder is an incredible, unpredictable journey accompanied by many highs and lows. Within the position of "entrepreneur", there is a lot of focus on moving forward, "hustling", solving big problems and finding their solutions, often glamorizing the many challenges and obstacles founders face. Entrepreneurialism is not an absolute or linear journey, rather it is filled with ups and downs creating a messy landscape that can be stressful, confusing and isolating.

We were thrilled to host this event and be joined by a phenomenal group panelists who shared their journeys as entrepreneurs: Guy Davis, CEO and Founder of HealthQb, Pallavi Panigrahi, CEO and Founder WeCause and Jayesh Parmar, Former CEO and Co-Founder of Picatic (acquired by Eventbrite in 2018).

This was an incredibly moving event, with the founders and our community sharing their experience building companies while experiencing the realities of startup life. It's not a simple conversation, nor is this the last event we host on the topic and we thank everyone who was able to participate and join in on the discussion.

Find our key takeaways and resources for further exploration on startup founder mental health, and mental wellness generally, below:

Key Takeaways

On the reality of "killing it" culture:

"I was not well equipped as a new founder.. it's a dark spot having entrepreneurs who are not well equipped and layering on “killing it” culture...It's important to raise the discussion and raise the debate. (Let's) normalize it, talk about it, and work through it, together."

- Jayesh Parmar, Former CEO and Co-Founder of Picatic (Exit Eventbrite 2018)

On the iterative nature of entrepreneurship and coping with the unknown:

"You are constantly designing something, building, testing and learning. Each step gets more complicated...be comfortable with the unknown (and) be okay with the fact you haven’t figured everything out yet."

- Guy Davis, Founder and CEO of healthQb On the importance of mentorship:

"Finding other people who shared the same value was very difficult, looking for mentors is what helped me figure out what type of people I need for my team. Having a mentor allows you to be completely vulnerable and transparent."

- Pallavi Panigrahi, Founder and CEO of WeCause

Resources from the community:

  • UBC Students: Visit UBC's Health and Wellbeing resources to get connected to the ones that meet your needs, here.

  • UBC Staff/faculty: Visit UBC HR's Health and Wellbeing Staff and Faculty specific resources, here and here

  • Mental Health Resources in Vancouver: Take a look at this resource list of lower-cost, sliding-scale and free counselling services in Metro Vancouver, here

  • Future Founder released an all encompassing guide to startup founder mental health covering readings, podcasts and more. Take a look, here

  • Panelist and CEO & Founder of WeCause, Pallavi Panigrahi, wrote an article on the ups and downs of her entrepreneurial journey called "Start. Stop & Startup Again". Read it here.

  • HATCH Alumni Stoko released a Be Kind to Your Mind guide featuring podcasts and readings on the topic of mental health. Download it, here

  • Another HATCH Alumni, GenXys, shared a post sharing how they're helping healthcare professionals provide better care for individuals with mental illnesses. Read it, here

Thanks again to all who joined the conversation. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when we host our next event on startup founder mental health!

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