In 2011, Matt Omernick co-founded Akili Interactive and set out on a mission to improve people’s lives by building clinically-validated cognitive therapeutics, assessments and diagnostics that look and feel like video games.
Nearly a decade later, Matt and his team have seen their hard work pay off — this summer, Akili Interactive was awarded FDA clearance for EndeavorRx, the first-and-only prescription treatment delivered through a video game developed to treat children with ADHD.
Matt came across the original technology that led to Akili’s founding while working as an executive at LucasArts, and became taken with the idea of using games in a precise and targeted way to physically change the brain and improve people’s lives. Pivoting from his extensive background in games and entertainment, Matt made the jump to healthcare and didn’t look back.
In a conversation moderated by VillageMD Chief Technology Officer Mike Roberts, Matt shares his unique entrepreneurial journey from entertainment to healthcare and how he believes video games are changing the face of medicine.
The Tales from the Trenches series invites seasoned healthcare entrepreneurs to the MATTER stage to share their journeys — from how they got started to what they’re trying to accomplish and what they’ve learned along the way. Tales from the Trenches is sponsored by VillageMD.
Learn more about MATTER events here.
For more information, visit matter.health and follow us on social:
Speaker 1: (00:09)
Welcome. My name is Steven Collins. I'm the CEO of matter. Today, we have one of our signature programs called tales from the trenches where we talk with seasoned entrepreneurs about their journey. How did they get started? What are they trying to accomplish? What have they learned along the way? Our guest today is Matt ick, who is the co-founder and chief creative officer of a acutely interactive, which is developing FDA approved digital therapeutics to treat behavioral health conditions. Akeley was, uh, just awarded FDA clearance for endeavor RX the first and only prescription treatment, uh, delivered through a video game, uh, developed to treat children with ADHD. I'm not, you know, after being in this for a number of years and still not sure if there is a typical healthcare entrepreneur archetype, but if there is one, Matt is not it. Uh, his background is in games and entertainment.
Speaker 1: (01:06)
He held senior roles at Lucas arts and Microsoft and Dreamworks and electronic arts. He teaches college level computer graphics forces. He wrote a book called creating the art of the game, which has become an industry standard. Um, I met Matt when we were on a panel, uh, together last year at the health conference and really enjoyed his perspective on digital therapeutics and the healthcare industry generally. And I'm really looking forward to his insights today. Um, we tales from the trenches with village MD, which is a Chicago based company, innovating in value based care. Um, they're operating in 10 markets and they work with physician practices to implement really true value based care models. Um, you may have seen recently they received a 1 billion investment from Walgreens to scale their operations. And I did say 1 billion, uh, dollars. So it'll be really interesting to see where that takes them. Uh, our moderator today will be Mike Roberts. He is the chief technology officer at village MD. Uh, Mike joined the company in 20 and he and his team are really at the heart of enabling the village MD's value based care solutions and allowing the company to that. I will turn it over to Mike to lead this conversation.
Speaker 2: (02:29)
Great. Thanks Steven. And thanks for allowing me to host today. Um, Matt, as I've gotten to know you a little bit over the course of, uh, the last few days, I, uh, I couldn't be more excited to be spending the next hour or so with you, uh, the, the level of energy that you you bring in conversation, uh, I, I think will translate well, uh, here virtually, uh, for the group that is, has joined us and I look forward to, uh, to our conversation. So thanks for making the time today.
Speaker 3: (02:54)
Ah, likewise. And thanks Steven for the, uh, the, you maybe sound way cooler than I really am but yeah. So curious route, um, into healthcare, for sure. So I'm happy to happy to talk about it and take any questions that, that are useful today.
Speaker 2: (03:08)
Awesome. Well, let's rewind the clock then let let's back up to, to the early days. Uh, I, I think you, you do have a creative and a tremendously, uh, uh, diverse background as it relates to how you stumbled into healthcare, but before we get there, let's go back to where it all started. You, you went to college, as I understand in Florida, and then you were looking for your first job and, and you sort of had a bit of a challenge, uh, once you, uh, were on weighted that job. Can you describe what that was like?
Speaker 3: (03:35)
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I went to a private art school in Sarasota, Florida called the Ringling college of art and designs. Amazing, amazing school. And I went there cuz at the time, um, it was the only school in the world at that point that I could find that taught computer animation. And so I think I was lucky like early, I just knew that's what I wanted to do. It'd always been an artist growing up and I think, uh, once I'd seen, um, the music video by dire Strait's money for nothing, if anybody ever remembers that that was one of the early computer animation and I was just like blown away and hooked on like, I, I need to do that thing. Um, and so wrangling this school Sarasota was, was the place that I could learn this. So I chased that down. And um, when I graduated, um, I had a verbal offer in for a job in Chicago.
Speaker 3: (04:23)
So I, I grew up in the Midwest. I grew up in Wisconsin in central Wisconsin and so eager to get back and be close to family and love Chicago. And so packed up a U-Haul van and drove up there on this verbal offer and get there to find out the job wasn't real. That , it was not an option. So here I am after college, uh, all right, what do I do? So jumped into a job as a waiter at Italian restaurant in Northwell street. And, um, just started looking everywhere. And this is, you know, this is before the internet really, you couldn't really look for jobs on the internet, right? So I had the big old yellow pages and I'm going through and I'm finding anything that I could find that was remotely related to film or games or television, and, um, found a few places.
Speaker 3: (05:04)
And I just continued to knock on the door and there was, there was, uh, one place in particular in Chicago called atomic imaging, um, which is still going strong, uh, run by Ari Golan. And, um, so he gave me a great break to work on some, uh, film titles and medical animations. And, uh, then I started knocking on the door of a game studio, um, and it was at the time called Myer glass interactive and Myer glass was a toy maker and they had a video game division where they worked on the Hasbro licenses. And I was really eager to work on games that I grew up with loving like access and allies and, uh, diplomacy and some of these old board games and translating those into games. Uh, so, uh, long story short that's, that's how I got kind of involved in both, both, uh, kind of the film side and the game side was in Chicago and I was just moonlighting there and working nights and weekends at atomic imaging. And I just kept going to, to Myer glass interactive every day until they hired me. Um, and so, so that's, that's kind of got a foothold in, in Chicago and spent some time there before I eventually moved to California. So I'll, I'll pause there. That was the shorter,
Speaker 2: (06:09)
Yeah, no, that, that's great. I think, you know, what it highlights to me is sort of the clearly a bit of a tenacious approach. And I think as many entrepreneurs can appreciate, uh, if you don't have a tenacious approach and, and sometimes, uh, you know, don't take no for answer, uh, you know, ever, and then just sort of keep pressing it's it's, it sort of clearly leads you to success, but, but that's really hard too. It's it can be challenge. It can be at times demoralizing, maybe just describe a little bit about maybe some of those challenges that you had as you were going through that, that process of going every day to the same place until you're able to actually get a job. What, what, what did that look like?
Speaker 3: (06:41)
Yeah. You know, certainly frustrating as, as a college student, of course, you, you have these grand visions of how it's gonna go when you graduate and, um, you know, for us back then, like you would have a demo reel and the only way to get that out there was to buy these really cheap VHS tapes that only had about two minutes of reel on them, cuz they were cheaper and that's about all you needed. So you'd, you know, I remember just sitting in the lab and recording, you know, hun a hundred of those. And then as a poor college student, you're looking stamps and you're mailing these out to places. Right. But, but I've never forget this like, oh my gosh, I'm so proud of my demo reel and I'm gonna send this thing out to a hundred places and 98 of them are gonna offer me a job.
Speaker 3: (07:16)
Right. And then it's crickets like absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing at all. And I'm like, oh no, this is terrible. Um, but you're right. It's like you, you kind of have to, I think that's where your body kicks in that perseverance. And you're like, okay, well then maybe, maybe taking the same path that everybody else is taking by just sending out demo rails, isn't the right way to do this. Right. Uh, so you, I found myself starting to naturally fall into, um, this way of thinking. It's like, okay, well what is the, what is the path everybody else takes? I'm gonna take a different one, right? I'm gonna find a different way to get there. And that has over time. Now that I look back at myself and my career, that's something that I think I just kind of naturally am attracted to doing is finding those alternate paths. And I find that that's been, that's, there's, there's always another path. There's always another three paths and you just have to be kind of open minded and go after them and look for them. So it's kind of a small analogy of a bigger picture item there.
Speaker 2: (08:11)
Yeah. Yeah. So much of it depends on, you know, at least what I found and I think you agree Matt with where you find your passion and, and, and, and you know, how you identify that passion. And so, so as you sort of transitioned from the Midwest to, to, to the west coast in, in terms of your sort of next, uh, sets of things that are incredible in their own. Right. And I can't wait to talk to them, but maybe talk about like, how do you layer in passion, um, in sort of all these points and times that you're making decisions like, like, is that a north star for you or how do you, how do you think about leveraging your, your passion as you, uh, are successful as an entrepreneur?
Speaker 3: (08:43)
Sure, sure. I mean, I I'm, I'm the first to recognize that I feel very fortunate to have kind of known what I was passionate about and for, to live during a time where that thing, that I'm passionate about exists in this case, it's art and computers and technology mixed together. Um, and so I'm always, and always having to reminding myself of just being grateful and, and feeling fortunate for, for having that passion for something and it being an option. Right. Cause that's not always true. It's just not always true. Uh, most of the time I think you can make it true. But, um, so, so yeah, I think that's been a huge part of, um, just who I am and, and my choices that I've made along my path and career have been more passion driven. Um, cuz it's, it's paid off for me more often than not.
Speaker 3: (09:29)
Right. So it's now my natural instinct to just follow that. And so you hear it a million ways, follow your gut, follow your heart, follow your passion. Right. It's just, it's the same idea. Um, I guess it's this like giant collection of data that you're gathering that you don't really know you're gathering and it just manifests as a gut feeling. Right. Um, but if you're, you know, if you're like tell us to my kids, my young girls all the time. Right. You know, you, you can do anything that you put your mind to, but pick one that you love. Right. Find something that you really love. And uh, so yeah, so I, I mean the short answer to that one is, is absolutely I massive fan of following that gut and following that passion cuz I, it generally it generally works.
Speaker 2: (10:08)
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, you're, you're moving from, uh, Chicago out west. Uh, you have some pretty amazing opportunities, uh, that you, uh, had in front of you that you took advantage of and continue to build upon. Just tell the, tell our audience about what some of those experiences were like working on such prolific, especially during the, the early two thousands, um, sort of, you know, over the course of the decade, what, what, what did that look like working in a, in a gaming industry that was, that was booming, um, and, and really moving from, you know, sort of single platform, not online to multiplatform online and you found yourself right at the center, but maybe talk a little bit about that.
Speaker 3: (10:45)
Sure. Yeah. And fascinating, exciting, amazing and exhausting to the other part that I'll talk about. Um, yeah, so early, yeah, early two or I think it was year 2000 I think is when I moved, moved out to the west coast and I initially did a small, my was my first startup there, which was, um, not specifically games, but a little bit more gamification and some tech. And it was, it was really, really exciting. And I, I got, I think I got the, um, I got bit by the startup bug at that point in time, but shortly after I, I got an offer from, uh, Dreamworks interactive, uh, to come and work for that division in Los Angeles, which I just could not turn down. It was an amazing opportunity to work on, um, the, the franchise called medal of honor, which is really the, the genre establishing, um, IP that led to call of duty and, and a lot of these things.
Speaker 3: (11:34)
So it was this first kind of world war II, first person shooter on the, uh, PlayStation one and two. So it was the kind of that era right there. Yeah. And so incredible, incredible opportunity. I could not turn down. And that, that was an unbelievable experience for me. I think that's where, that's where I got to first sample the idea of, of not just being an artist and creating cool art and doing awesome things, but being able to branch out from there and, um, really start to learn about game design in a much, much deeper way. Cause we were solving a lot of problems back then. There were very few first person shooters on any console. At that point in time, there was a, you know, off famous James Bond game called golden I that was on, uh, uh, the game queue. But this, this was really early for first person shooter.
Speaker 3: (12:22)
And so solving a lot of these new problems that had never really been solved. And how do you make that work on a console with the game controller? How do you push the level of the graphics on the PS two to be as good as a PC? So I, I, I got bit by another bug there, which is like solving these really challenging, crazy problems that haven't been solved before. So great time at dreamwork Dreamworks interactive, which eventually got bought by electronic art, electronic arts. Um, so a couple years there and moved into art directing. And then, um, I got an opportunity to go come up to Northern California, uh, which I'd always loved to work for Lucas film Lucas arts specifically, and yeah. Forgot to mention like everything before college. Probably the reason that I was that I knew what I wanted to do and loved computer graphics was star wars in Indiana Jones.
Speaker 3: (13:09)
And those IP of course, like almost any kid my age, but maybe 20% more, quite a geek on that stuff. So, um, that opportunity of course could not turn down either. And so I moved up to Northern California and uh, worked for Lucas arts for, uh, a decade and, and, and I was able to work on not only a bunch of wonderful internal games and uh, at Lucas arts and be the art director on the force unleash franchise. But I was also the external art director there for many years, which basically put me in touch with a whole bunch of other studios that, that Lucas film in general would use to make other games. So third party developers. And that was an amazing experience that I didn't realize how, um, uh, important and impactful it was for me, but it was like being able to sample 10 different jobs and 10 different teams at, at any given time and, and see how they worked and work there without having to job jump. Right. I still got to experience that, uh, and so many years there and, you know, uh, that's where the story starts to change into kind of where we are today. So I'll, I'll pause.
Speaker 2: (14:09)
Yeah. Yeah. Well maybe before we get to that point, cause I do wanna go there next, but, but you, you, in your role as an art director, as an example, I'm sure that you had to collaborate in many ways as you're trying to solve all the problems that you need to solve, whether it's, you know, from a, from a graphic standpoint, from a, from, from a, um, audio standpoint from a, um, I, I'm guessing that there's probably a bit of a scientific approach to, to game design in and of itself. Maybe just describe like, like literally all that goes into it and, and the complexity. Cause I, I eventually guess that, you know, it's at least I didn't have an appreciation for the level of, of, of complexity that it really takes to, to produce a game.
Speaker 3: (14:46)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for bringing that up and that, you know, that leads into the, my exhaustion comment, uh, comment earlier too, is that I, I, I found out the reason that I, that I preferred working in games than in film was that complexity. It was the, the myriad of unsolved problems right. Of seemingly impossible things to figure out that's that just got me, um, where film is wonderful, but it's passive. Right. You can control every frame on the screen. Exactly what it's gonna look like. Whereas a game it's three, it's gotta look good from every angle. Right. It's gotta run on the processing speed that you're limited with. It's got to, uh, yeah, I mean, there's just so many variables and so many things that have to all click together. So I, from a problem solving and a creative challenge, point of view, I was completely, um, sold on the games industry once I got to sample that.
Speaker 3: (15:33)
Um, but at that comes at a cost and I think anyone that knows anything about the games industry knows it's, it's famous for, for crunch, like real, real, real crunch . Um, and so a lot of, a lot of that time, um, yeah, was spent in the studio a lot of my chunk of my life there, and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. Uh, but, but diving into that passion, following unsolved problems, you gotta know that that, that oftentimes comes with a significant cost and just the contribution that you have to put into it to make it all happen. Yeah. And so, um, wonderful, wonderful growth years, uh, but yeah, in incredible hours. And, um, but the beautiful thing is that everybody that was in that industry is equally passionate about doing the same thing and you all just want to make the best thing you can possibly make together. And the joy of that collaboration, um, the creative problem solving that happens that whole journey of the idea for a game to sometimes four years later finishing it right. And finally getting it O off the, off the press is yeah. An emotional roller coaster. That is hard, hard for me to describe, but, uh, wonderful, wonderful,
Speaker 2: (16:39)
Awesome. Awesome. So, uh, maybe from out of the fire out, out of a, uh, um, frying pan into the fire, uh, you, you made the, the choice to, to start a, a healthcare company and, and frankly merge two industries merge the gaming industry with healthcare, which I think is, um, even by today's standards is, is, is a pretty novel, uh, not, not only idea cause I think you're, you're well beyond an idea, but, but there's, there, there's a set of companies that are doing it, but, but certainly in 2011, I, I, I just can't imagine like what that conversation might have been like as you were talking either with your, with your colleagues, your friends, or, you know, eventually, uh, investors, but maybe talk about why, why achie, he, why the transition into healthcare
Speaker 3: (17:20)
Mm-hmm . Yeah. Great. So, um, if I had kind of a, you know, going back, if I had kind of a, a subtopic hobby, it was the brain I've always been interested in that, um, along with art and, um, as I started getting involved in development and per your last question, the other thing that I really discovered is there's so much psychology in art, in both art and in game design, right? Mm-hmm , um, I realized very quickly that game really good game designers are, are, they're basically like psychologists, right? They're thinking about motivation, they're understanding deeply reward and challenge and the payoff and the balance between those things and cuz amazing, amazing games are exactly that they're they a perfect balance of challenge and uh, achieving that challenge and being rewarded for that challenge. And so my, my kind of passion underlying passion for brain and I just, I just read constantly about the brain growing up, just really just blown away because I think we didn't know anything about, it was probably what attracted me to it right.
Speaker 3: (18:24)
Is another one of these alternate paths or uh, unsolved problems. And so I think it was about 2009 or 10, maybe even earlier I met, I met Dr. Adam Gazal, who's one of our co-founders and he is he's this incredibly well respected rockstar neuroscientist today, um, even was back then. I met him socially initially, and it was that at a party in Berkeley. I remember this and once I met him, he was a major gamer. I had this major interest in the brain. We immediately started to pick each other's brains. And I, and I, I was like, take me to U C S F stand my brain. And he was like, take me to Lucas arts and show me how games are made. And so, uh, we immediately started to half, half seriously, you know, talk about the convergence of these, um, ideas. And at the time there were, there were quite a few neuroscientists looking at off the shelf, video games already and really studying them and doing brain imaging with them.
Speaker 3: (19:22)
Uh, Dr. Daphne Bal who's one of our advisors who is one of the most highly respected and amazing neuroscientists in this space. And she, she was oddly enough looking at metal of honor at the time, you know, I'd long since worked on it, but that's one of the games that she was using to study and seeing for the first time, what I think many game designers and artists had suspected is that games are actually really powerful and could be very good for you if, if designed so right. And so the, the idea that, that games aren't totally evil and the Satan's instrument, which I've heard some people say before, , um, really like that just clicked with me right away. I'm like, wow, wow. I can, I can use these powers to not only help remove the stigma. That's always bugged me about interactive entertainment, but actually usually superpowers for good and improve people's lives.
Speaker 3: (20:15)
So, so at that time, I, I started working with Dr. GZA at U C S F on nights and weekends. I was at Lucas arts at the time. And I brought over, uh, some incredible people from Lucas arts, uh, Dimitri eon, great artist and art director, Noah Stein, who is just a legend in the game industry, Eric Johnson. You're one of the most incredible engineers and inventors that I've ever met in my entire life. And Dr. Gaz, fetus, beer and sushi, you know, at nights and weekends. And we built the very first early prototype of what eventually became the technology that founded our ADHD product at Achille. And, um, we developed this very game-like thing. I've reluctant to call quite a game, but it was this car driving down the road called neuro eraser. And, uh, Dr. Gal's team put this into a study that that was just incredible.
Speaker 3: (21:04)
It ended up landing on the cover of nature, which I, I didn't appreciate, but that is apparently for a neuro that's like getting an academy award for neuroscience getting the cover of nature. Um, but this study was, was wonderful. It showed two things. It showed one that a video game could be sensitive enough to detect the differences and the cognitive ability between individuals, right. It could essentially assess people to a really fine degree and it showed cuz he measured a whole bunch of people in their twenties or thirties all the way up to nineties. And it showed the curve that we all suspected is that we cognitive decline as we get older started earlier than we thought, I think it was like 27 or something like that, which was a surprise finding. Um, but a video game was a, it was sensitive enough to detect these differences between people's cognition, huge deal, right?
Speaker 3: (21:50)
Mm-hmm and B it could actually train, it could actually train and improve that they could change that curve for people. In some cases in their eighties, they could start to perform like people in their twenties, um, on certain cognitive tasks after playing for only a month of this game. So if I wasn't hooked, then I was very hooked at this point, like before that. Um, and so well before the nature came, paper came out, it was really clear that this is what I wanted to do and that, that there was clearly an opportunity here to help patients and to create something entirely new. Um, and that's kind of where another chapter starts. So good place for me to pause too, and see if there's more questions on, on that part of the journey.
Speaker 2: (22:28)
Yeah. Well maybe, um, before we get to the sort of next, next chapter, if you will, um, there there's, you know, these things take time and, and ultimately, uh, you know, we'll, we'll get to where you're at today, but, but they, they take time. And I think part of what entrepreneur entrepreneurs struggle with sometimes is, um, you know, when, when, you know, we always talk about failing fast, we, we, we talk about, um, uh, experimentation and AB testing and all those things are, are great, but at some point you have decisions to make there's forks in the road. Um, and, and sometimes, you know, you're, you're frankly just not sure what, what the right answer is. And do you keep going or do you shut it down? And, and sometimes it's as broad as, you know, the company level. Do you go keep going or shut it down? Sometimes it's small from a, maybe a feature or product standpoint maybe as you're going through the early stages of achie. Just describe that. Cause I think it's, I think it's, um, E easy to say and talk about, but, but it's hard to sort of execute. Um, and I just love to hear your perspective on it.
Speaker 3: (23:24)
Sure, sure. Yeah. I think, um, what's, what's deeply embedded in your question and I appreciate is this, this unknown, right? This unpaved crossroads or UN pave fork in the road where you're like, no, one's really trodden this path before, what do you do? Right. You could, you could spend all day being data centric. Data's wonderful. Right. But you could write, you could go down a rabbit hole forever trying to collect data to answer your question on which path should I take. Right. Um, or you can just be crazy and willy-nilly, and just jump off the, you know, side you don't wanna do either. Right. It's gotta be that sweet spot mix. And every problem's a little bit different. Um, one of the things that, you know, I'm St I'm learning so much, um, in, in this kind of new industry, even though I've been involved in achie for eight years, like every day, I'm learning so much.
Speaker 3: (24:13)
Uh, but one of the biggest things that I continue, it shouldn't surprise me anymore. Is it, it it's, it's the people and the way they think, uh, that you collect around you that help make those decisions. Mm-hmm and you know, one thing we've seen at ACHI learn, right, is that, um, when, when you're, when you're doing something or you're established company, you're seeking a goal that really hasn't been solved before, the worst thing you can do is just apply the way you used to do other stuff to it and say, that's gonna be the right decision. Like you have to be really open minded and really creative, whether you're an artist or a scientist, creativity is the same thing. And, um, you have to, you have to surround yourself and be, and bring in people who by default, just think out of the box that way.
Speaker 3: (24:54)
Right. And they look at a problem that hasn't been solved instead of trying to push some other way. They've done it into, into solving that problem. They're really open minded and have a collaborative discussion. I'm like, okay, well, how can we do this? It's gonna be a great combination of data. And it's gonna be a great combination of some of our relevant experience that we've had collectively. And some of it's gonna be that kind of gut , you know, and that instinct and, and be not scared of failing. Right. And be, you know, the cliche, but be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Speaker 2: (25:25)
Yeah. Yeah. I, um, I had a former, uh, a colleague and a mentor, uh, say that surrounding yourself with really bright, uh, non likeminded people and having ferocious debates among friends is the best way to get to the best outcome. And I think that's, you know, effectively what you just, what you just described.
Speaker 3: (25:42)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and that's, that's, uh, that's so well said, I love that. And you're right. It's the, it's the entire spirit of diversity and by every measure diversity and every measure. Right. And it's, it is it's that, um, it's, it's the diverse experience, diverse thinking, diverse, everything, um, that, that power is so incredible. And when we, when we founded the company, you know, that was one of the very first things that we both recognized and embraced was that we were trying to combine these two extremely different industries. And with that would come great power and great challenge right. Where you've got people that think completely differently come from different worlds. Um, and I I'm, I'm thankful that we recognized that early and just said, okay, well, let's lean into the amazing of that. And let's invest in that and enhancing that, and let's not try to just combat it or fight it. And so, um, I've, I've seen other companies try to combat it and fight it or work around it, or just surround themselves by people that are just similar and comfortable and it just doesn't work. It just doesn't
Speaker 2: (26:39)
Work. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. We, we talk a lot about, um, creating space around the problems that such that, you know, you assume that no one has the answer, uh, and if you come in there and, and assume that then, then you're also coming at it from the hopefully the right perspective. Um, so awesome. Well, well maybe so, so you're, you're now you've, you've proven the concept you've, you know, whether there was a quote unquote proof of concept or not, you've proven that there's, there's clear, um, uh, clinical value there's, there's, there's clear value in, in, in the capability that you had developed. So early on. So, so now it's a matter of, well, H what, what's next? How do you actually go to market? How do you, um, think about, you know, the series of things, how do you think about funding there? There's all these things that you need to start thinking about? What, what do the next sort of chapters start to look like after you prove the concept?
Speaker 3: (27:23)
Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, very exciting and nerve-wracking time, of course, like, wow, they have this amazing technology and this amazing promise of an entirely new industry, an entirely new way to, to learn about cognition and treat the brain. And so, um, no shortage of passion. Right. But then what do you do? How do you, how do you get there? Um, the, the very first I remember Dr. Zi had called me at one point and he said, Hey, I, I was reached out by this VC. We should talk to him. And we had a phone call and I, I remember being really turned off because, um, it was almost like a Hollywood script version of a VC. It was just could tell a dollar signs in the eyes and it just felt icky. It just felt like not. Right. Um, and so I remember being kind of like, oh man, is this what this is gonna be like?
Speaker 3: (28:06)
Um, but very shortly after that, um, Adam, Adam called me and said, I want you to meet this, this guy I met named, uh, Dr. Eddie Marucci and Eddie, who is now our CEO, and one of our four co-founders, um, incredible, incredible individual by, by so many measures. But so Eddie, Eddie was at the time working with a group called peer tech in Boston, which is kind of a seed, uh, and in investment and kind of healthcare general. They're, they're an unusual, really cool model, but they effectively ended up being our, um, kind of incubator and seed investor. And, uh, still one of our largest investors. They're amazing. Anyway, so Eddie was with peer tech and he had met GZA and they had talked and Eddie had already come before even seeing one of G Goza talks or seeing the nature of Eddie had already kind had a vision for this concept right.
Speaker 3: (28:57)
Of combining these industries. And, um, knowing that medicine didn't have to be scary, that medicine could actually be smooth and accessible and in some cases, even fun. Right. So Eddie was already there with a vision. And, but I do remember when he, when Adam told me, like, talked to Eddie Marucci from the east, I'm like, oh, no, not another one. No, this is gonna be terrible. Um, but Eddie flew out to San Francisco and he and I had, I don't know, it was probably a four hour lunch and ended up being, um, in Sausalito. And, and, and I heard his vision for this, which filled a huge gap in what Gaza. We just had a cool tech that we were excited about. We had something that we saw an industry, we saw patients being helped, but we didn't have the business, you know, uh, model kind of in mind, whereas Eddie did so immediately, like we knew Eddie, Eddie was the right guy, pure tech was the right guy. Um, and so at that exact moment too, we had, we brought in our fourth, fourth, co-founder a gentleman named Adam Piper, who is one of the, the best designer engineer, just incredible human being, um, that, that I've ever worked with. And he, he immediately was super happy. He knew Gaza's well, we, he jumped in as our fourth co-founder and, um, yeah, between pure tech and Eddie, that's how we got really our first stage and our first, uh, foothold to start the company.
Speaker 2: (30:16)
Wow. Amazing. I mean, it's, it's just sort of reiterates the point of finding people that are, are passionate, but not like-minded with capability and, and vision that, you know, you can, may start out as being different, but the more you talk, the more you sort of work through it, the more you shape it, as we like to say, um, it turns into something that you, you yourself could not have done. Right. I would imagine. Um, so great to hear. So, so now, now you have, you have some capital, uh, you're trying to make the decision on, uh, what to do next. Um, you, you clearly, if we SP forward to today, you you've had a very successful launch of an FDA approved digital therapeutic, uh, which I wanna talk to, but before sort of jumping to that, I just maybe talk a little bit more about the journey, cause there's, there's a lot more to it than just sort of seed stage to now. I think what you're on as a series D uh, raised in terms of funding, maybe talk about what happened between, uh, that point and now,
Speaker 3: (31:05)
Yeah, I mean, the, obviously the first step for us was to build a great core team, you know, in the range of, I think like 10 to 15 people is kind of where we initially and kind of stuck there until we had some stuff answered. Um, but an amazing mix, right. Of scientists, uh, data analytics, folks, uh, healthcare biotech, um, pharma, in some case game design, film, design, production, product manage, uh, so like this, this great, cool, diverse, you know, group of different people from these different industries. And we immediately knowing what we were trying to do, got to work learning about each other, right. that was number one. We recognized we had to build a culture. We had to establish a culture and it had to be different than anything any of us had ever seen. We had to, as deeply as possible understand each other's silos and our, each other's worlds as best we possibly could.
Speaker 3: (32:00)
Um, because recognizing that once we grew the company beyond that, it was that core group's responsibility to maintain that communication and that culture and, and, and try to avoid, or cut off at the past any of the, any budding of the heads, because like, I don't understand what you do, and I don't understand what you do. We felt that we got it right. Um, early on, we, you know, we could get the right trajectory so that when we started to, you know, grow the company a little bit, um, we could help avoid some of these problems. And I think we were, uh, quite successful with that. Not perfect by any stretch. Uh, we brought in, well, many advisors, one, one of whom, which I'd worked with in the, in the past, who was the president of Dreamworks interactive at the time, Glen ETI, who is an incredible cultural force and, um, and a very experienced, very creative, very intelligent man, who, who also has a wonderful understanding of team and culture and dynamic.
Speaker 3: (32:51)
And so I get a lot of credit to him to, to helping us organize at that point early. Yeah. So it was really that bowling, that collection of, of diverse experience learning about one another and then saying, who are we gonna help first? Right. Because this is one of the, the strangest things about how this started is the technology that came out of U C S F um, is such that it is actually core to many, many different disease populations. Mm-hmm, , it's really truly changing the neural network of the brain at the very kind of bottom of the funnel here. Right? So unlike a drug where it may be masking a Sy symptom for ADHD or depression along those lines, it's actually changing the neural network of the brain underneath. Right. And so it' spanned a lot of populations. So we actually started a lot of early, uh, feasibility and pilot trials in different populations.
Speaker 3: (33:41)
We kind of knew ADHD was probably the right place to start for a variety of reasons. Um, but we, we started to run trials and invest in those trials right away, uh, which was great, cuz we knew that when we founded the company, we had to do two things, right. We had two pillars that had to be critical. One was scientific validation, rigor, right. We knew that everything that we were doing needed to be unassailably valid. And like we knew this was real medicine and we did not want this to be confused with like the brain training industry or anything along. But like this is very different. This was real stuff. Um, and then the second pillar was really, um, the quality of the experience, right? It was the, the engagement, it was the fun factor. We knew that, um, in order to, to create, um, lasting change in the brain, we know this from the neuroscience it's experiences that make those changes mm-hmm right.
Speaker 3: (34:35)
So sometimes those experiences are bad in the case of PTSD. Sometimes they're a great experience, your first kiss or whatever, but that, that I guarantee that changed your neural network. Right. Um, and so we know it, it, we knew back then that it was experiences that changed the brain. And we also knew that one of the best ways to create customized, personalized potent experiences is video games. And so investing in those two parts of the company were the first things that we put into. So, you know, building part of the company to be looking and feeling a little bit more like a game studio and the other, like a biotech or healthcare and, um, science based entity and, uh, so yeah, great place to great place to pause. But those were the first like major things that we kind of bid off and chewed and said, let's get those things. Right. And I think we did a pretty good job there.
Speaker 2: (35:22)
Yeah. I mean, I think culture is, so it's easy to say the, the word and it's, it's sometimes harder to describe. And personally, what I found is, is being intentional about defining, uh, who you are as a company who you are as individuals, especially early stage is, is sort of critical as you think about, uh, growth and ultimately scalability, assuming success. Um, but, but how did, I guess maybe how did you know, like, like how did you know that was a place to start? I, maybe everyone knows. Uh, I, I certainly in my early days of, of being an entrepreneur, I didn't know, uh, I have a much different perspective on it now, but how did you know that that was the place you needed to really start and spend time?
Speaker 3: (36:01)
Sure. From, from my perspective, I can say I learned that in the games industry, um, because of that, that crunch and everything that I, that I talked about earlier, what I saw happened in the game industry is it was, it was the really great cultures, um, meaning collaborative, great communication passion that was like self fueling between everyone. That's where great product came out of. And that's where good experiences came out of that's. Um, those are the games that did well, and those are the teams that stuck together and did even greater things. And so I just saw that pattern. I saw the importance of culture, um, especially in, in the face of craziness. Right. Um, you, you kind of, you're in the trenches with people, right. You're down like tales from the trenches, right. You're in there and like these become your band of brothers and sisters.
Speaker 3: (36:51)
And, um, that was, became really evident to me early in, in my career, in the games industry. And I, I think that that is more common, I think, in the entertainment industry in general, probably for a lot of the same reasons than you might always see in pharma, for example, not picking on it. Um, there's different culture. Um, so I, I think from my point of view that that's where I kind of brought part of this to the table. I think then also the second part of the answer is our recognition of this mashup that we are about to do. Mm-hmm and just knowing, like knowing what we don't know about this mashup and saying, okay, well, if that's gonna work and be powerful, what's the most critical piece we have to get. Right. The answer was communication, right. And then if you kind of peel apart what communication means, I mean, any of us, right? You look at any problem you've probably had at work or even in personal life, if you really back it all up, it's probably a communication thing. And so we just recognize that like, all right, it's all about communication and communication essentially is culture. Right. And, uh, so I, I think there was a few of us that just came from different angles and recognized early that there was the FA possible failure point for us if we didn't invest in that early. And I think it would've been honestly, had we not.
Speaker 2: (38:05)
Yeah, totally. So well said. Um, we have a number of questions rolling in. Um, and I, I, I get, I wanna get to one that I think is pretty relevant to what we're talking about here. Um, one of the questions is, is how did you actually conclude that, uh, focusing on at least as, as an initial focus, uh, focusing on ADHD and the younger population was the right place to, to start.
Speaker 3: (38:25)
Sure. Um, there's, there's quite quite a long list of why ADHD is, is first for us. And I want to be like super clear, um, our, and we could talk, hopefully we can talk about this too, but, uh, our, our pipeline and what we have kind of set up is what we are as a company is to really help as many people in the world, as we possibly can with cognitive impairment issues across so many diseases. ADHD is kind of our beachhead and our first product, pediatric ADHD specifically. So that's really where we're refining the business model. We're kind of getting that out. So it's really kind of the, the beach head to open this up, but some, so some of the reasons on this giant list for ADHD, um, one is that the current solutions that are available for treating ADHD, cuz ADHD is such a still ill defined area, right?
Speaker 3: (39:13)
There's so many different parts of it. I think it's starting to look more like what we discover with autism, right? There's, there's a spectrum, there's all kinds of stuff within ADHD and realizing that a lot of the, um, treatments or things that are available to help ADHD are not meeting the need. Right. I mean, drugs work fine for, you know, some people we're not like the anti-drug take down the drug company company. Um, they were, they were great for hyperactivity and, and some of these other things, uh, cognitive behavioral therapies seems to have some effect it's hard to measure, but it's, it's, it's, it's pretty time consuming and hard to kind of pulled off. So when we really looked at and talked to the patients and these parents and caregivers and are, they are their needs really being met, the answer was no. Right. Um, and so number one was that that unmet need and two is we realized that the, the technology that we had where it's super power is, is in at is for attention specifically, right?
Speaker 3: (40:09)
That's exactly the part of the brain brain that we are strengthening and enhancing and building up that skill and all the trials that we ran, I think to date, we've run 30, over 30 clinical trials at achie, which is crazy cool. And, um, you know, attention, we just continue to knock out of the park. It's something across diseases. It's something that we, we were really powerful tool for. And knowing that, uh, attention is part is partly an MIS maybe an under, under misunderstood part of ADHD or like it's impact, right. People like, remember the hyperactive moments they remember, oh, my kid was just being terrible the other day. Like he threw a chair, you know, um, that's kind of what sticks in a caregiver's mind when the doctor says how's Tommy doing. Um, but really it, you know, attention is a huge kind of subset of this population and it's kind of core to a lot of these other things.
Speaker 3: (41:03)
Uh, so recognizing that our technology was super powerful for intention, and that is, is obviously attention deficit right. Uh, was a great place to go. And then you add in kids, right. And if we're, we're introducing the world to the first, you know, FDA approved prescription video game, you can imagine back in our series a and series B funding, like we got some, my brows raised at the, you know, at the, like, you're gonna do what , um, we don't have that anymore, which is really cool, but, um, obvious fit from that point of view, right. Uh, especially ADHD kids, like getting them to sit still and engage with something is really hard. Like the goal is to get them to be able to listen in school and be able to do, you know, follow through on the tasks that they need to do to be successful in life. And one of the things that, um, that many ADHD kids will do and sit and engage with is of game, right? So there's a much, much longer list, but you know, there's two of the unmet need. And, um, and I think the obvious fit from our market research and talking to kids and what they want and how they interact and how they engage with experiences. It was, it was the right, the right population to help first.
Speaker 2: (42:10)
Yeah. So it's really fascinating. And so, so well, well said, it makes so much sense as you described it. Um, maybe 1, 1, 1 of the questions, uh, that we, that we had come in is at some point you had to make the decision to, uh, go down the FDA approval path. And you had mentioned that you had some eyebrows raised, uh, earlier in, in, in the company's, uh, history, uh, when, when no one had done that before. And I think no one still done that besides Akeley. Um, describe maybe how, how and why you made the decision to go down that path and then maybe we'll get into what, what that exactly looked like in terms of the process.
Speaker 3: (42:43)
Sure, sure. Um, so again, a lot, a lot of reasons, and, and yeah, we got, we got questioned that early on. Like, why would you do that? You could, why, why go up that scary hard mountain, right. When you could just like give this to people and, you know, the, the, the main reasons one was kind of what I alluded to before is that that first pillar of our company, like we knew, we see and saw that there's a future of medicine where people take their cognitive health as seriously as they do their physical health. Right. We know this is true. We, and we know that future needs to come. Um, you see how much, uh, day, every day that goes by, we see what a struggle this is, is becoming evident in the world, right. Is cognition is huge. And, um, so we knew in order to do that, this had to be legitimate crystal clear, like unsayable medicine.
Speaker 3: (43:30)
Um, this was an industry, not a product, not a series of products that it was, you know, helping legitimize, what, what, what isn't even called digital therapeutics back then. Right. I mean, there were lots of terms being thrown around, but we, there wasn't a name for it. We didn't have a name for it, but we knew that, that, uh, this was important and really real. And that, um, we had to kind of set a high bar, not as a competitive barrier or anything like that, but just for the good of patients in the good of the industry and the good of the world, right. So going the FDA path, going the prescribed path, like that was kind of one of the meta reasons, right. To do it. And then there were a lot of other logistical reasons we knew from market research. We knew, and we know this today from, from our data coming in from the real world too, is when a caregiver and a patient is interacting with a physician, um, their compliance, their engagement, their trust is much, much, much higher, right.
Speaker 3: (44:26)
So they're, they're much like they're much more likely to, um, to take their medicine for lack of a better term. Right. And to get better if a physician is part of the, of the process here. And, um, so that wasn't even really as much of a hypothesis as something that we knew, uh, was true, but we really thought we could scale and, and make a big difference here. And, um, yeah, I mean, I would say those are the two really primary shining reasons that the FDA path is really just valid validation, um, scientifically, uh, from a legitimacy point of view and making sure that a physician was involved. And we feel like if we, if we can get this, this right, and get digital digital medicine, digital therapeutics defined, right. And, and, you know, work with the digital therapeutics Alliance in the world and try to get this, this new category really nailed and clear and understood as real medicine. Um, you know, then I think we can probably start to, to do some non-prescription stuff. Right. Um, but we felt like it was really important to kind of punch a giant hole through this barrier. Right. If we're gonna do it, like go and yeah. It was expensive and took a long time, but we knew that was gonna be the case.
Speaker 2: (45:38)
Yeah. Amazing. Uh, it's such a, such a great, great perspective. Um, I, I do wanna get to, you know, you're, you're sort, you, you know, your, your sort of next set of, um, digital therapeutics, cause I, as we've talked and as you've mentioned, you, you're not just an ADHD, uh, sort of focused entity and you have this very sort of broad, um, vision, which is just so compelling. And I feel like we could spend, I could spend the next three hours just talking with you about it. Uh, but we only have about 10 minutes. So, um, maybe as it relates to, um, uh, one more ADHD question, then we'll go to the, the sort of broader question, uh, as it relates to the, the, the, the therapy itself, just maybe to, you know, go through the process of FDA, I'm sure it was incredibly challenging, but then to actually do the design of how it works and, and then to, to prove that it has results, obviously you've done that. Um, but maybe talk a little bit more specifically, like, like, like what, what does it do? How, how does it work, uh, in terms of a, a, a digital therapeutic for, for, in this case, a child with ADHD?
Speaker 3: (46:34)
Sure, sure. So, yeah, in the case of, uh, endeavor RX, which is the ADHD product, um, which will be, uh, available via prescription very, very soon, I can say that I can't say a date yet. , it's, uh, at, at the core kind of from a scientific point of view. And again, caveat, even though I've been in this world now for a decade, I'm nowhere near neuroscientist. Um, but what's, what's essentially happening in the simplest level is as, as a patient engages with this product, it's played in an iPad or an iPhone, you know, device, and they're, they're doing, they're doing a few different things. One is they, there's a continuous motor task that they have to be engaging in, in this case, it's tilting the iPad to steer their avatar to their character through these crazy worlds. Right. And they're having, they're having to do this in an, uh, an unpredictable way from the brain's point of view.
Speaker 3: (47:26)
So it can't be a race course where you can like, remember there's a left coming up, right. It's completely random because it's activating, um, a, a certain or a certain part of the brain that's, that's making you do this kind continual unpredictable motor task, right. So, uh, that's occurring. Um, and while that's occurring, the, the player, the patient is being presented with challenges and targets and, and stimuli that's coming at them. And they've been, they've been taught and told which stimuli to react to which stimuli not to react to. And that's constantly changing and adapting and evolving, but the most basic form, those are kind of the two things that are happening. Um, part, part of the, the magic is, is the happening at the same time. Mm-hmm, , mm-hmm, , there's a, there's a video. If I had time, I'd love to show you that we've had for for years where it, we, we have two side by side, uh, playback of, of the game being played.
Speaker 3: (48:17)
One is a neurotypical 11 year old kid. And the other is, uh, one of the patients with ADHD 11 year old, right. Matched in pretty much every way. And you're watching them play the game. And it's hard to tell really the difference when you're watching just the fun part of the game, but then we overlay the data of how they're doing at these individual tasks. And it becomes really clear what, what the ADHD child is struggling with is, is do they're having to do these major trade offs between having to do this and having to attend to these stimuli that are coming in, and there's this huge gap they can't really anywhere near as, as well as, as a neurotypical, do them both at the same time at a high level reaction times are lower. Um, there's a ton of stuff happening there. And what the game does eventually is is it assesses your abilities, it assesses kind of your strength and what you're able to do as an individual cognitively.
Speaker 3: (49:07)
And then what's really cool is it builds all the rewards for the rest of the game, on the fly for you, right? So they're perfectly timed and positioned out to push you to the level of effectively bring plasticity, right, where you're actually gonna change. And, um, and so it's, it, it makes a custom version of the game. So everyone that plays a game has a different experience, which is pretty awesome. Um, and it's like each one gets a different personal trainer, right? They know where you, where you gotta rip the muscle and they're gonna keep you right on the edge so that you're constantly growing it. And, um, so the game is, is, is designing and doling out rewards as you achieve and chip away. And as you slowly start to remove that cost that you have as you're resolving and conflicting with these different, uh, uh, tasks that you're meant to try to be able to do or should be able to do more cohesively together.
Speaker 3: (49:56)
And so over time, that curve just starts to look like a neurotypical kid. And we see in the co you know, objective cognitive measures of inattention go away in a third of these kids, they look like a neurotypical in our studies, so pretty amazing. Um, and that being said, all these great trials where we're most excited is now we get to do the best trial of all, which is the giant real world data collection of this, where we know it's gonna help patients today, but we also know it's gonna get better. It's gonna get even more efficacious. It's gonna get even more engaging and it's gonna happen rapidly to your point, Mike, right. Being in the, being a tech company, um, we can iterate so quick and we can improve both the efficacy and the product at a rate that you could never do with the pharmaceutical.
Speaker 2: (50:38)
Yeah. Wow. Amazing. Oh my gosh. Um, thank you for going into that detail was incredibly, uh, incredibly fascinating again, um, maybe in the last five minutes, maybe just a few more questions. I do wanna get to the one that we started talking about. Um, this is, this is, uh, with, with this launch, it's not that you've arrived. Uh, maybe you've arrived at your first place that you're going to be, but you have a much broader vision. Um, as you mentioned, you started to mention, you wanna create and define the space of digital therapeutics, um, which is, uh, audacious. Uh, but I, I, as someone who sort of has a very grand way of thinking in general, I, I, uh, I love, um, so, so maybe describe how you're thinking about, uh, the, the future of ACHI a little bit as it relates to dig digital therapeutics.
Speaker 3: (51:22)
Sure. Um, you know, I can, I can kind of recite our, I guess, what other companies would call their, their vision statement. You know, our ours is, are just called our purpose, cuz it's the way we think about it. It's like, why are we even here? Right. And it's to ignite new hope for, for those living, with cognitive impairment and boldly challenge, the status quo of medicine, which is like my favorite part. Right. And, um, so there's this, there's this ultimate goal to, you know, as we said, help, um, catalyze the recognition of cognition across the world and, um, then help treat it in any way that we possibly can. So we won't always make just video games that treat cognition, right. We're probably gonna do all kinds of stuff. Um, even with the prescription to endeavor RX, for example, you don't just get the digital treatment, you're getting an entire kind of care management package that, um, that sits alongside and supports that, right.
Speaker 3: (52:12)
Which is great with behavior tracking and symptom tracking apps for the parent and teacher. And, uh, so we're really as a company trying to use technology to help with cognition in any way we can and help push that world forward. Right. That create that future. And, um, and so we, of course, past ADHD, we have we've run trials in a lot of different, um, disease populations and have ongoing trials and we'll continue to do that for probably forever. Um, but you know, areas that we've already have data in and we're very excited about in are, uh, MDD, some major depressive disorder. Um, um, we have Ms. We were not actually really crazy to like notable cognitive impairment and decline with, uh, Ms in addition to the physical issues that are happening there. Uh, anxiety autism, um, we've run kind of like monitoring slash diagnostic stuff for Alzheimer's and dementia.
Speaker 3: (53:08)
We think, you know, mild cognitive impairment, which is essentially what that nature paper was looking at, right. Was just general decline. As we age, we think there's a huge, huge group of people that we can help there. Uh, and the list goes on to things like lupus and, uh, chemo fog and the areas where cognition is impacting, um, daily lives and how people behave and how they can function in life, but also impacting the physical down the road. Right. We think a lot of, um, insurers and the smart ones, right. Are, are thinking about cognition already now as this almost preventative medicine. Yeah. So I think that world's happening. And so we're just trying to catalyze it and we're trying to, trying to push it, um, really for the good of the patient.
Speaker 2: (53:51)
Awesome. Awesome. So I have two, two more questions and I know we just have three minutes left, so, so maybe, um, knowing that you're defining a space, knowing that you've been at this for, like you've said almost a decade, um, you, you have, you're going through a series D in terms of your funding. Um, you, you have to find, I, I assume investors that have, uh, that help you shape, uh, the vision and refine ongoing refine the vision. Uh, but on some level I I'm guessing that there needs, that needs to come up with some, some level of patience as well. So, and, and, and, and maybe, maybe talk a little bit about how do you find the right investor, like what, what's, what's the criteria, if there is a criteria, uh, from your perspective?
Speaker 3: (54:29)
Nah, it's, it's a, it's a great question. I think, um, we feel very fortunate to be in, in a position where we can be more strategic about the kind of investor that we're working with. Right. Cause there's a lot, there's a lot of, I I've, I've heard it called dumb money before. Right. like, there's like, you can go get money. Right. Um, we're really, uh, and, and have been most of the time, along the way here really been lucky to be able to partner with, um, investors who are not only incredibly patient, right. Because they, they see the long play here, but, um, but her strategic and able to help us and not just through the classic networking, you know, that's always great. Right. But, um, you know, partners that are, that are big vision thinkers and strategic thinkers and, and can help make, you know, connections for us that we wouldn't be able to make ourselves, but really help us do things like pick, pick disease populations to go study.
Speaker 3: (55:22)
Um, and so we really, really are, are, um, fortunate because we've been able to partner and bring in really super smart money and, um, money that, uh, people see that long term vision. And it's been interesting for me coming from the tech side, um, my background where, you know, it's, it's the super fast pace, like, okay, turn around or expecting, you know, expecting profit in one year, right. Or revenues in one year. And then I've seen the other side, which is kind of big pharma, right. Where it's like 10 years and a billion dollars to develop a drug. And then you basically just, you know, pump 250 million into marketing and to it over the fence and cross your fingers. Right. like, that's such a different business model right. Than the iterative kind of tech side of things. And so, so on one side of like, I, when we talk about patients, it's very relative patients as in waiting. Right. Right, right. And, and so we've got this nice mix and continue to try to find that nice mix and make sure that our board is, is, is composed really of again, really diverse mindset from these different industries. Um, so yeah, if we continue to be fortunate and continue, like it, we're just continue to, to partner with smart money and strategic, um, money to help us achieve our goals.
Speaker 2: (56:35)
Great. Okay. So LA last question. I know at the top of the hour, um, my, my guess, my, my guess is your, uh, digital therapeutic, uh, is gonna see tremendous success. Um, one of the things that's really interesting and I don't, you know, that, that I realized early on in our conversations was the power of the technology as it relates to, uh, creating a, a, a different outcome, uh, from a, a clinical perspective and how you, how fast you can iterate on the tech versus a drug you made that point earlier. Um, so I don't think the limiting factor is gonna be how fast, fast can you produce, uh, the technology here. Um, but, but like, how, how are you thinking about managing demand or how are you thinking about rolling out, uh, the, the, the, the digital therapeutic as it relates to
Speaker 3: (57:19)
ADHD? Yeah. Uh, thanks. Thanks for asking. I think it's, it's an important point. Um, the short answer is way more like a technology company and not like, like a pharmaceutical. Yeah. Uh, you know, we have, we have this opportunity to, to roll this out in the way that we are rolling out is actually pretty quietly first. Right. Um, even though we have we're FDA cleared, this can be prescribed and the product has been in development for a long time. It's quite robust. It's great. Um, we recognize that it's not just about the product, it's the entire patient journey. It's the onboarding, it's every touchpoint and this is a new kind of medicine, right. So we hopefully are smart enough to recognize that some stuff's probably gonna break, like we're probably not gonna get it perfectly, right. The first time around the good news is that it's text and we can iterate and change and learn and adapt really quickly.
Speaker 3: (58:08)
So, um, when we got the FDA clearance, like the, the attention and, and the press, that it was way beyond what we ever imagined for better or for worse. Um, and, and that's, that's great. Uh, but so we, but we have, we have a massive list of people who have basically said, join the waiting, like, like we're ready for this, like physicians and caregivers, patients. And so we really want to kind of cater to that group first and, and frankly work out some of the little kinks that are, that we're sure gonna happen right now on paper. We don't see any it's, you're gonna be fine. We're not, we wanna, we want to take this opportunity of being a technology product to, um, use the philosophy of more product market fit. Right. We will go a little, that curve goes a little lower and a little slower first where we work out the kinks and we test things.
Speaker 3: (58:54)
And like you said, we AB test, we try different things. We get feedback from our patients and our caregivers and teachers and doctors, and we make it better and better until we've hit these KPIs that we've all agreed is truly product market fit, where everything is dialed in. Yeah. And that point, then, then we, you know, then we, uh, kind of put fuel on the fire for lack of a better term and get this to as many patients as humanly possible and help as many people as we can. So we feel like we actually owe it to the patient to get it right carefully first, before we just do the big giant pharma launch. Does that answer your question?
Speaker 2: (59:28)
It does. It does. It's. It's so awesome. And I, I know we're past time. I wanna be respectful of, of everyone's time here. I know I didn't get to all the questions or a bunch of great questions that came in. Um, Matt, I, I, I want to thank you. Um, it was, it's been tremendous to spend the last hour with you. I learned a ton. Um, I hope the, uh, I know the audience did as well. Um, and I'm, I'm gonna be rooting for achie interactive on the sidelines. Um, and I look forward to seeing tons of success your way going forward. So, so thanks for the time today, Matt.
Speaker 3: (59:58)
Ah, thanks so much, Mike. And thanks everyone for letting me ramble. I can talk about stuff all day and I love it. So, um, yeah, this has been wonderful.
Speaker 2: (01:00:06)
All right. Thanks. I take care. Have a great day right now.