Yatek is on a mission to help millions of people suffering from social anxiety, and we are doing this by developing a tool for psychologists to treat patients with social anxiety faster and more efficiently through VR-based exposure therapy treatment.
400 million people suffer from social anxiety, and that number is growing rapidly. Yet there are not nearly enough therapists to meet demand, and this shortfall is set to get worse. Social anxiety disorder causes an extreme fear of negative judgment in social settings, and left untreated it can lead to social avoidance that can disrupt a person's life.
The common practice for treating social anxiety is exposure therapy, which is gradual exposure to situations causing fear. This is typically assigned as homework for the patient to do on his/her own time, often with sub-optimal results due to a high drop-out rate and the exercises being done improperly. Yatek is redefining exposure therapy through our solution of customizable virtual simulations of social interactions, and quantification of patients' progress, that allows for personalized treatment, and for the therapist to supervise exercises carried out by the patient while at the clinic.
Our solution is grounded in years of research and combines neuroscience with VR & AI applications to develop 3D environments and interactions with human avatars. We are also developing our own proprietary hardware that allows the patient to navigate in a user-friendly and intuitive manner through virtual social situations, without moving in physical space.
We are three founders with a burning passion for using state-of-the-art technology, innovative business models, and taking a scientific approach to solve problems that really matter. Tackling mental health is beneficial to every single part of society, but in our opinion, mental illness has unfortunately been underprioritized and underfunded on the global health agenda for way too long. We believe that now, more than ever, there needs to be a shift in perception, where mental health must be seen with just as much importance as physical health.
A bit about the founders' background:
Dr. Annelene Dahl, CSO & Co-founder, has a psychology and neuroscience background and she did her Ph.D. at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience. The company is partially based on her research, and she has also previously worked with VR-based exposure therapy for phobias.
Lars Traaholt Vågnes, CTO & Co-founder, has a background as a machine learning engineer and has spent the last 5 years developing cutting-edge AI applications. He has also founded 3 AI-first startups, both in Norway & China.
Heidi Frost Eriksen, CEO & Co-founders, has a background in management and B2B sales. She has also been part of getting the fundamentals down in the international scale-up process for 2 startups, including go-to-market strategies, driving sales & strategic partnerships, building teams, and securing sufficient funding.
Our mission is to let therapists treat more patients in less time, with increased quality, to help bridge the massive gap between the demand for mental health care therapy and the current capacity of therapists to meet demand, and we are always looking for people interested in being part of our journey.