MoreGoodDays founders Neala Fulia and Helena Ngo

Investment Notes: MoreGoodDays

Date Published:
March 13, 2023

We’re proud to have led the seed round into MoreGoodDays, a psychology and behavioural treatment delivered via an app for people with chronic pain - initially fibromyalgia, and later expanding to other chronic pain conditions. 

Giant Leap, Side Stage Ventures (initiated by Emily Casey, the founder of What The Health), The Snow Foundation and LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund join us in the round.

The vision for MoreGoodDays is bold: to make chronic pain treatment accessible to the 1.6 billion people in the world that need it, and to do so with a product that is affordable and scalable. 

If you have chronic pain, you will be able to use the app as your single place to manage your condition. This ranges from accessing highly specific health content for your condition (eg. how to use pacing to manage fibromyalgia symptoms), manage pain and anxiety flare-ups in the moment with audio visualisations, join live q&a sessions with health practitioners, book 1:1 telehealth sessions with psychologists, physiotherapists and more as needed, and be part of a community that deeply understands what you are going through. Right now, all of this burden falls on the individual - they have to educate themselves about their condition, coordinate their own healthcare across many providers, and they tend to find community in Facebook groups. 

Neala, the founder, lived in New York and worked on global health projects for both BCG and not-for-profit, International Rescue Committee. There, she led the Health portfolio of the R&D team tasked with creating innovations which took her to Sierra Leone, Kenya and Jordan. Her last stop before founding More Good Days was at NESTA, where our Operating Principal Kate Glazebrook and Applied co-founder also hails from. At NESTA, Neala helped to set up the health portfolio and there learned about the gap between the science, and what’s available in market. Then, her father was diagnosed with chronic pain, the pandemic brought Neala home, and MoreGoodDays was born. 

The most painful of problems

Imagine waking up every day with pain. And there is no cure. This is what life is like for Neala’s father, as well as the 1 in 5 people globally who suffer from some type of chronic pain. Due to cost and the lack of trained practitioners, just 10% of people have access to the level of treatment they need. 

What Neala understands better than most is that pain management requires a combination of physical therapy (physio, sleep therapy, exercise physiology and nursing), medication, and psychology. It’s the last of these where MoreGoodDays is initially focused, and why early results using standardised medical surveys are so compelling:

  • 70% of users had a >20% reduction in pain
  • 70% of users had a >30% reduction in pain catastrophizing 
  • 80% of users had a >40% reduction in depression, anxiety and stress
  • 80% of users had a >20% improvement in self efficacy

This is why MoreGoodDays are closing the gap in affordable and accessible care. Their mission is to make something that is currently out of reach, accessible for every person living with chronic pain.

As with diabetes ten years ago, most interventions for chronic pain are offline, and unscaleable. And just as Omada Health and other billion dollar companies were built to bring the Diabetes Prevention Program online, equally large companies will be built bringing chronic pain management online. 

Pain is a gigantic, unsolved, global market. 

A Community-Led VC

Our investment in MoreGoodDays is a great example of our community-led investing approach, first by bringing Neala into our orbit as a Startmate Founders Fellow and then as part of one of our programs to meet founders pre-company, Giants.

Two years ago, as the world was entering its first lockdowns, we launched our first virtual conference - the Giants Conference 2020.  

Following the success of that conference, we asked: ‘How can we help connect more early stage founders with founders, operators and investors who are further along in their journeys to accelerate the growth of the ecosystem?’ The answer was a cohort-based virtual program, where founders book 1:1 sessions with over 150 different mentors to validate their idea and build their MVP. 

To date we’ve facilitated over 3000 mentoring sessions for 875 founders, and made 5 investments linked to the Giants program, including this one. Giants gives us the opportunity to build a relationship with founders at the earliest stages of their journey. So when it came time to raise, we had heard a bit about Neala’a progress and were excited to jump on board. 

Founders on a fast paced mission

Neala most impressed us with her pace of progress. In February last year, she was selected in the top 5 founders to pitch in the Giants closing ceremony (from a cohort of 220!) based on mentor feedback like this:

In less than 5 months from then, she taught herself to use website-builder Webflow, built her MVP product from scratch, then built a mobile-friendly version of it, narrated all the content herself, structured the product to get reimbursements from Medicare for customers, brought on another Startmate Fellow Helena Ngo as co-founder and CMO, launched MoreGoodDays, and within 3 months of the launch had acquired paying customers without paid advertising, and dozens of referring doctors. And that was just the MVP.

Now with a team of six, Neala and Helena have their sights on soft-launching a subscription product with program coaches (who are alumni of our program) with access to a Clinician hub that includes psychologists, physiotherapists, or a MGD doctor to get your referral if needed all in one place.

Neala (left) and Helena (right)

A product led approach to health

Digital health is a tough category. Health regulation and reimbursements need to be navigated country by country making building a ‘global from day 1’ business difficult. Direct to consumer anything has inherent challenges with engagement and retention. The service element of psychologists needing, at least initially, to be in the loop, puts a constraint on margins due to their high cost. 

The product-led mindset of the founders gives us confidence on all of these fronts.

The MoreGoodDays MVP is a 12 week digital program that includes both content and 1:1 coaching with a psychologist. The content is specialised to the chronic condition, meaning the psychologist can be a generalist, ultimately solving the supply constraint of pain specialists. 

Ultimately, the vision of the company is so vivid it’s built into the name. We are excited to be on the journey with Neala and Helena as they help thousands of chronic pain sufferers have more good days in their lives. 

Sam and Christie, on behalf of Blackbird