With a groundbreaking focus on the intersection of technology and mental health, Chilean startup Umano has emerged as a transformative force in the business landscape. Founded by lawyer Francisca de la Piedra, journalist Javiera Moreno, and commercial engineer Maríajosé Herrera, the company aims to enhance the quality of life for workers while simultaneously boosting the performance of businesses.
The Challenge at Hand: Mental Health in the Workplace
In 2022, over 25% of electronic medical leaves were attributed to mental disorders, according to statistics from the Superintendencia de Seguridad Social (Suseso). Additionally, two out of three workers reporting an occupationally related illness last year received a mental health diagnosis, constituting 67% of the total. These compelling statistics drove the founders of Umano to address this challenge from an innovative perspective.
Francisca de la Piedra, with a strong legal background, shares that the idea for Umano sprang from her deep social commitment. After years in the corporate world, a case of domestic violence encountered during a specialization in Family Law became a pivotal moment. The lack of access to legal counsel in this case prompted her to seek a solution to address similar issues.
Javiera Moreno, a neighbor of De la Piedra, joined the project during her postnatal period. Her personal experience, having a daughter with Down syndrome, led her to reconsider her life and contemplate how to assist women facing similar challenges without having to give up their jobs.
Umano's Business Model: PeopleTech in Action
After exploring various options, the founders opted for a scalable startup model, combining technology and specialized counseling. Umano started as an online legal advisory system for Kibernum, its first client, before expanding into areas such as social and psychological support. They coined the term "peopletech" to describe their people-centric and technology-driven approach.
Umano's business model relies on a monthly fee that varies based on a company's workforce. This fee covers access to the platform, data analysis, psycholaboral surveys, reports, employee workshops, and other services. Additionally, consultations, conducted not only by employees but also by their family members, constitute a significant portion of the revenue.
Clients and Growth Prospects
This company has attracted prominent clients such as BCI, Kibernum, La Invernada, Cultiva, Clear Channel, and Clínica Alemana. After an initial investment and support from a Corfo SSAF, they are on the verge of closing a second investment of $200,000. Looking ahead, they plan a larger funding round in 2024 and aspire to expand internationally, with an existing presence in the Colombian market.
Umano stands as a trailblazer in the burgeoning field of PeopleTech. Led by a diverse team comprising De la Piedra, Moreno, and Herrera, the startup demonstrates that worker well-being and business success can coexist, offering a comprehensive solution that goes beyond traditional constraints. Their vision to redefine the relationship between companies and employees highlights the positive impact that people-centric technology can have on the workplace.