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Building a Thriving Future for Youth Well-Being

Three Future-focused Reflections for Health Equity Funders

Good ideas emerge when we stay open-minded, take creative risks, accept change, and innovate. As the world evolves, we embrace continuous learning as a foundational organizational value. In 2023, the Hopelab team followed our curiosities, stayed abreast of emerging technology, and invested in young people. We believe in the transformative power of shared learning. Join us to achieve sustained positive outcomes in the field of youth well-being!

Invest in Solutions for Youth Mental Health

As a social impact investor, Hopelab’s goal is to support the scale of better, more diverse, and accessible mental health and well-being solutions for young people. We invest in founders who are building solutions that are intentionally inclusive of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, low-income, and other historically marginalized communities. Solutions in our portfolio range from digital health to social media. In 2023, our portfolio expanded to include organizations focused on substance use disorders, suicide intervention services, and gender-affirming care.

2023 Portfolio Moves

Hopelab Investment Supports Transgender, Non-binary Youth Mental Health
DynamiCare & YourPath
Hopelab Investment Portfolio Expands to Include Organizations Treating Substance Use Disorders
Vita Health
Investment Plans Will Scale Teletherapy and Suicide Intervention Services

Our Unique Founders

Unique to the Hopelab portfolio, we back founders with lived experience related to the youth and mental health topics it supports. Our hypothesis is that those founders are uniquely equipped to develop and deliver effective and impactful solutions.


post it note with glitter star reading 53% of youth served by Hopelab partners are BIPOC, LGBTQ+ or low-income
text reads: 87% of hopelab investees have a founder who identifies as a woman, LGBTQ+, or BIPOC; fist with arm inside of accelerated graph

MindRight Health, an initial addition to Hopelab’s portfolio, revealed promising data showing early findings that the digital health startup’s non-clinical care approach for BIPOC youth support outperforms industry standards in both retention and usage data. The white paper, titled Beyond Clinical Boundaries: Fostering BIPOC Youth Wellness through MindRight Health’s Culturally Responsive Care, addresses the need for culturally responsive approaches for mental health concerns among BIPOC and Medicaid-eligible youth populations.

Caraway, another founding member of Hopelab’s venture portfolio, secured $16.75 Million in Series A funding in June 2023, allowing the startup to expand virtual care services to six additional states, bringing the total to ten states: Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, California, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. Caraway’s reach will extend to 44% of 18-29 year-olds enrolled in post-secondary institutions in these states. Hopelab’s follow-on investment in Caraway aims to build on its focus to serve women and dive deeper into the needs of its BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Medicaid users.

We want to learn from and build a community with like-minded investors. If you or your organization is interested in learning more about leveraging the learnings from our social impact portfolio to grow your fund’s investment potential and shape the future of youth mental health, reach out to Hopelab’s investment team.

Support Young Leaders in Shaping Strategy

Advancing mental health and well-being outcomes for young people cannot be done without their leadership. While investing in diverse founders with lived experience makes up one part of the ecosystem, the voices of young leaders contribute exponentially. In 2023, Hopelab focused on specific initiatives and investments that encouraged cross-sector, intergenerational collaborations and championed youth leadership. Our learnings propelled our strategy forward at a lightning-fast pace.

Creating Shared Space

Hopelab, in partnership with the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, created a shared space for young leaders and their generational counterparts to lean into co-mentorship and youth co-creation. Leaders and creators from the philanthropic, health tech, research, and entrepreneurial space exchanged ideas and learnings. In the micro-moments, relationships blossomed, and visions started to build. Watch for yourself and see just how powerful co-mentorship can be.

Four Lessons in Co-Mentorship with Young People

We learned many valuable insights from youth co-creation this year, one of which is how to lean into co-mentorship with young people. Thank you, Maddie Freeman, Bruny Kenou, Ashley N. Monterrosa, Jade Davis, Alex Briscoe, and Nghia Do, for generously sharing these lessons.

Youth-Powered Responsible Technology

Gen-Z leaders are a force to be reckoned with in the pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable technology ecosystem. When given the resources, young leaders can build, shape, and steward responsible technology that will shift the status quo. The first-of-its-kind fund raised $2 Million with investments from Omidyar Network, Hopelab, Susan Crown Exchange, The Archewell Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Data Funders Collaborative, New Media Ventures, Oak Foundation, The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Pivotal VenturesReynolds Lookup Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Carmel Hill Fund, and Flourish Impact Fund.

With fanfare, The Archewell Foundation Co-Founders, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced 26 youth-led organizations would join the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund’s inaugural cohort to create safe and inclusive online spaces.

Young Leaders Take a Central Role in Behavioral Health Solutions

Young innovators are playing a central role in defining solutions to issues they see in their communities and everyday lives. As the demand for digital mental health resources continues to grow, young leaders are making significant contributions to the sector. In partnership with Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Hopelab created the Young Innovators in Behavioral Health Awards Program which recognizes 30 young leaders who have made significant contributions to the access, awareness, and advancement of digital mental health care in the U.S.

The inaugural cohort represents a cross-sector of young leaders from students to clinical researchers to tech entrepreneurs building a more inclusive, equitable, and effective mental health ecosystem.

Stay Involved in the Conversation

Young leaders in the mental health and technology space share their insights to help advance well-being outcomes for young people. Perhaps these conversations will spark a new strategy or encourage a new collaboration within your sector.

Build Bridges to Support Innovation

Creating socially meaningful impact does not happen in a silo. Working collaboratively with partners and sharing learnings across our sectors will support strategy and innovation. As a leader in youth behavioral health research, Hopelab found ways to share that knowledge and build bridges between policymakers, venture capitalists, designers, entrepreneurs, young leaders, and academics. These relationships have played a crucial role in advancing solutions aimed at enhancing adolescent well-being outcomes.

two bipoc young women work on a project; abstract background

Understanding and Investing in the Promise of Adolescence

Understanding how adolescents, young people ages 10 to 25, develop, learn, adapt to change, form relationships, and explore their environments is a key component of helping them achieve their full potential in adulthood. Adolescence, a pivotal phase of growth and learning, marks a time of remarkable maturation of the brain. During this period, connections between different brain regions strengthen and become more efficient, while unused connections naturally diminish.

Although current perceptions of adolescents can revolve around notions of influencer obsession, moodiness, or perceived lack of control, it can be enlightening to reflect on one’s own adolescent experiences. Recalling the support and skills that were beneficial (or could have been more so) during the process of decision-making, relationship-building, personality formation, and assuming responsibility for the future offers valuable insights.

Hopelab has formed a strategic partnership with FAST (Funders for Adolescent Science Translation), a consortium dedicated to bridging the gap between young people, researchers, and policymakers. This collaboration aims to leverage scientific insights into adolescent health and development, contributing to informed decision-making. Through this investment and partnership, we anticipate identifying key opportunities to foster positive adolescent development and address the mental health needs of young individuals.

Explore the Governor’s Playbook for Youth Mental Health
A resource supported by the FAST collaborative, the Governor’s Playbook is meant to serve as a tool for states to further impactful policy solutions that strengthen youth mental health.

Cross-Sector Collaboration to Support Health Equity

While human-centered design is well-intentioned, alone it may not guarantee the development of equitable solutions. Adopting an equity-centered design approach that emphasizes collaboration, co-creation, and active engagement with key stakeholders is essential to ensure innovation aligns with the specific needs of the intended community. This summer, Hopelab partnered with the Eidos LGBTQ+ Health Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania for a multi-day, in-person workshop. The goal was to explore ways of supporting diverse founders with lived experience in enhancing the well-being of LGBTQ+ communities. The Summer Institute brought together researchers, venture capitalists, designers, and entrepreneurs for a collaborative exploration, learning, and practical engagement to leverage technology for addressing LGBTQ+ health disparities.

Embrace the Spirit of Generosity in 2024

By sharing the diversity of our approach and the impact of our collective work, we hope it will inspire you or your organization to embrace possibility and join us as we create a transformative ecosystem in the field of youth well-being. Complex systems change starts with authentic connection, and our work gains strength through diverse relationships across sectors, disciplines, and perspectives. Join us as our learning journey continues.

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