Good Unicorn MindMaze has zero interest in building the next hot social platform.
Instead, it is wholly dedicated to helping the 15 million patients who suffer from strokes each year recover using its brain-health gaming platform.
MindMaze’s game-based digital therapies have already helped over 10,000 patients in 20 countries. With two FDA clearances and 10+ ongoing clinical trials, the company is quickly accelerating on its path to creating the universal platform for brain health and performance.
Let’s dive into the deep end with neuroscientist, engineer, CEO and founder of MindMaze, Tej Tadi.
Diana Tsai: Tej, love your work. Can we start off with why you decided to use games and VR to solve some of the biggest neurological problems of our time?
Tej Tadi: It starts with the fact that there are natural ways to heal the brain without having to be invasive. That’s the premise of MindMaze. We can affect millions of lives by simple neurotherapeutic games that can be adopted safely by millions, by mass markets, used at home.
Our games are already commercially available and reimbursable by insurance in the United States for two diseases, stroke and brain injury. And we have fantastic data coming up for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Ultimately we believe that the future of medicine, in general, be it brain diseases, or eventually other kinds of diseases, will be a combination of drugs plus devices plus software.
Tsai: Incredible, and what do you foresee MindMaze becoming in the next ten years?
Tadi: Think of MindMaze as being the intelligence side of brain health. We’ll be the software, the operating system, of brain health, used by anyone who is working on applications regarding the brain, like Neuralink, Novartis, Medtronic, and then even other software companies like Apple.
Also, I’ll say that even though we are 100% healthcare focused right now, the technology we build for injured individuals is also valid for healthy individuals and high performance applications. So that’s an area we’ll be looking into in the future.
Tsai: How did you end up deciding that MindMaze was the solution to these gigantic neurological challenges?
Tadi: I have a master’s degree in computer graphics and electronics. The reason I bring that up is I was able to do a lot in virtual reality, interactive technologies, computational neurosciences. Sometimes it’s timing; things have to happen to you at a certain intersection. I think I happen to be at this intersection of these multiple fields, and I could bring different perspectives together to form a unique solution that touches all these areas.
Tsai: So the technology has been approved by the FDA, it’s reimbursable by insurance companies in the US and Canada, so you’re ready to scale and deploy. What’s coming up next for you and MindMaze?
Tadi: I think what’s most exciting right now for me is our ability to penetrate the home market, on a global scale. We’re already in 20 countries, and in some of these countries mental health and brain health is really misunderstood, or their clinical ecosystems are much less developed. So bringing our technology to other parts of the world, where it’s essential, where expertise is lacking, is incredibly important to MindMaze, and incredibly exciting.
Tsai: It’s going to be amazing to see MindMaze go global. If you had young scientists or entrepreneurs who are thinking, I want to build a Good Unicorn, change the world in a really big way, what would your advice be to them?
Tadi: First, identify the right problem that resonates with you personally. If it doesn’t resonate deeply, there’s no point wasting your time because you will never give it everything. Resilience is everything, and you’ve got to be sure about what you want, whether it becomes a unicorn or a decacorn, it will come if you believe it. Be really fond of the idea, because you’ll be stuck with it for quite a while.
The second part is human capital. You cannot do it on your own, you will never be able to do it on your own if you want to scale. This relates to the ability to both be passionate about the idea, but detach from the idea, what’s correct for the idea to be able to grow is a very different thing. For entrepreneurs, you get so attached to your idea, you need to be able to detach to see what’s correct for the business.
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