DTU Skylab

Family-driven startup improves mental health straight from your pocket

The need for more accessible mental health resources is rising. A small Danish startup team founded by a DTU student, his brother, and their mother is bringing the self-help app that utilizes meta-cognitive therapy to your fingertips

Credit: Christian Daniel Koldbech, DTU Skylab
Tuesday 3o January 2024

Denmark is under COVID-19 lockdown in 2021. The majority of the Danish population is constrained to their homes, with social interaction minimized to a minimum. According to a report from 2021 made by the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark, 22% of 5000 respondents experienced worsened mental health compared to their experiences in 2019 – before COVID-19 hit the world.

It was during the pandemic that a small idea started to materialize in the minds of two students, Magnus and Asbjørn Fredslund, and their mother, Jette Fredslund, a certified psychotherapist. The team quickly saw how the overall well-being of people during the pandemic diminished, and that was what ignited the ember that now has grown into the self-help app Meta Learn:

“Helping other people has always been an integral part of our family. Our mother, Jette, is a trained psychotherapist with several years of experience and one of the first in Denmark with an education in metacognitive therapy. Our mother saw the opportunity to adapt the methods behind metacognitive therapy into an app and coupled with my brother Magnus and my observations, we started to develop the Meta Learn app,” says Asbjørn Fredslund, co-founder of Meta Learn.

Anonymous self-help for a fraction of the price of a therapy session

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people are dealing with issues related to their mental health. It’s one of the most common challenges in our modern society, and according to a report from WHO, most people go untreated because of several factors, such as gaps in service coverage and unaffordable and inaccessible treatment.

Meta Learn’s app helps bridge this gap by providing exercises and helpful tools that are available and accessible through a subscription priced at 99 DKK per month for all exercises (approx. 13€).

Mental distress and psychological issues are among the most significant societal challenges we face. Long waiting times and expensive consultations are just some of the challenges that make our product essential for our society. Users of our app can engage with more than 25 interactive exercises that are curated towards stress, anxiety, racing thoughts, and much more,” says Asbjørn Fredslund.

Next steps

The team has been an active member of the Skylab Incubator, where they have been supported with business coaching from the staff at DTU Skylab, but also received soft funding for developing a physical card set based on the same meta-cognitive exercises from their app.

“We have been very happy with the help we have received from DTU Skylab. In entrepreneurship, one often has thousands of good ideas and directions to explore; that’s where the coaching has proven very valuable by helping us sharpen our focus,” says Asbjørn Fredslund.

The startup humbly hopes to be present in pockets all across the world in 5 years, breaking the negative trend of mental distress on a global scale.

The Incubator at DTU Skylab is for early-stage start-ups with at least one team member who is associated with DTU. The teams incubated are usually in the phase of figuring out their market or the right fit for market plus business development. The incubated teams have access to all labs and workshops at DTU Skylab, with free counseling from startup coaches and more during the incubation period.

Deadline for all startup programs is on February 11. Learn more about the many startup support opportunities here.

Meta Learn is a new app that offers courses on stress, racing thoughts, depression, and anxiety disorders, among others. The app utilizes methods from metacognitive therapy to provide its users with easy exercises right at their fingertips. The Meta Learn app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Learn more about the startup here.