A new platform, marketed as an "emotional fitness studio" and offering live classes and one-on-one therapy, has secured US$3m worth of seed funding.
Coa is the brainchild of co-founders Alexa Meyer and Dr. Emily Anhalt and provides live, therapist-led classes designed to bolster mental health through emotional fitness workouts.
The interactive group classes are built on Dr. Anhalt's research-driven method on the 7 Traits of Emotional Fitness and have been designed to foster a sense of community, while building emotional wellbeing.
Starting at US$25, the classes follow a proprietary "learn, exercise, breakout, discuss" framework.
The programming, overseen by Coa's head of emotional fitness, Vaneeta Sandhu, is designed to apply to a wide variety of challenges with both drop-in classes and weekly, ongoing series.
The studio curriculum will cater to common challenges, such as managing mental health in leadership roles, anxiety, imposter syndrome, parenting, and more.
Additionally, Coa will offer free community classes to address "timely and culturally relevant needs" – such as improving BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) allyship and addressing political anxiety.
Studio programming will kick off with an eight-week Emotionally Fit Leadership series later this year.
The venture will operate initially online, but is looking to open up brick-and-mortar studios as soon as COVID-19 safety protocols allow it.
"We know the number of people experiencing mental health challenges is growing exponentially in 2020, yet mental health services remain unapproachable, unaffordable, and hard to fit into the weekly routine," said Coa co-founder and CEO Alexa Meyer.
"We're beyond excited to reimagine mental health as something you can work on just like physical fitness. By offering classes that people do together, we're creating a space for connection, support, and accountability."
Before the launch of the online studio, Coa hosted mental health pop-up gyms around the country and offered its emotional fitness curriculum privately to employees at companies – including tech giants such as Spotify.
According to Dr Anhalt, employer demand for Coa's emotionally fit leadership and workplace curriculum has grown "900 per cent" since March 2020 and the beginning of the pandemic.
To date, more than 3,500 people have joined Coa's waitlist for the studio launch.
"Mental health is not one-size-fits-all," said Dr Anhalt, who will act as Coa's chief clinical officer.
"That's why we've created a curriculum that enables people to go deep, explore their patterns, and leave with actionable insights and tools.
"Our approach to mental health is not a bandaid, it's a workout, honed by years of research and work with leaders.
"We see the launch of our studio as the first step toward making emotional fitness accessible to people from all walks of life, at an affordable price."
The funding round was led by Crosslink Ventures with RedSea Ventures and Alpaca VC participating alongside Neil Parikh, founder of Casper, several angel investors, and professional basketball player and mental health advocate Kevin Love.
The funding will be used to launch Coa's online studio, hire a team of therapist emotional fitness instructors, expand programme offerings, support ongoing emotional fitness tracking, digital exercises, and community features, as well as the physical sites once safety protocols allow it.