Mark Nolte is all too familiar with the difficulties of getting psychiatric help.
Five years ago, he was diagnosed with depression. He was able to get help when he needed it, but during the experience, he realized not everyone is so fortunate.
“There are three reasons people don’t get psychotherapy,” Nolte says. “People don’t want to admit they have a problem, they don’t want to go to the doctor’s office for fear of seeing someone they know, or they don’t want to file an insurance claim because they don’t want their employer knowing they’re seeing a therapist.”
Fast forward five years: Nolte has his own startup dedicated to helping people get affordable, digital access to licensed therapists. The app is called Start Talking, and it recently received a boost from the State of Kansas’ Angel Investor Tax Act.
Start Talking offers an all-digital way for people to get mental health help. With features including secure text messaging and one-on-one videoconferencing, the tool offers “counseling at your convenience” via computer, tablet or smartphone.
As we reported earlier this year, Start Talking traces its beginnings to the November 2013 Gigabit Explorers hackathon co-organized by KC Digital Drive and Washington DC technology advocacy group US Ignite. That hackathon was designed to challenge entrepreneurs and technologists to develop uses for ultrafast gigabit internet.
Nolte’s idea was to take the powerful video capabilities of gigabit fiber and apply them to the world of online therapy.
In between the hackathon and the Kansas credit, Start Talking was admitted to the SparkLab business accelerator’s spring program. On April 10, Nolte pitched to investors as part of the program’s demo day. This June, he received a $150,000 Kansas Investment Tax Credit.
WATCH VIDEO of Nolte’s SparkLab pitch.
The tax credit, which was designed to encourage equity investment in early stage Kansas businesses, allows investors in Start Talking to receive a 50% tax credit of up to $50,000. With $150K to give away, this means Start Talking can give back credit on a maximum of $300K in investment.
“We went from an idea at a hackathon to a business that’s able to give investors a tax credit,” Nolte says.
Read more about Mark’s story in Startland News.