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Brief: Sona labs is a digital therapeutics company that uses music to improve mental health. The company has developed a proprietary composition process for creating music that relieves anxiety in listeners. Sona labs has received approval from the FDA to run clinical trials, and its product could become the first FDA-approved sound therapy solution for anxiety.
Key People: Founder and Head of Product Neal Sarin (former artist and repertoire director at music streaming company JioSaavn), co-founder and Head of Finance Dennis Hauser (current chief of staff at Celonis, previously on investment team at CREANDUM)
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Security Type: Equity - Common
Amount Raised: $78,848
Minimum Investment: $300
Here's what I like: Given that I co-founded a music platform called, Songfinch, it’s fairly obvious that I am a strong believer in the power of music. In a lot of ways, Sona is taking Songfinch’s top value prop (sharing personal stories through music to create an incredibly emotive experience) to the next level by effectively offering music as medicine.
There’s a TON of scientific research that suggests music can have a very positive impact on a person’s cognitive state — from helping Alzheimer’s patients recall memories to treating depression and PTSD. Sona's concept of treating anxiety through music is something that I’m totally on board with.
Overall, I think the team is very strong from a product side and what they’ve built with relatively little funding is impressive.
Here's what I don't love: I’m skeptical that sona can defend itself from other, more established audio apps like Calm. Currently, Calm is focused on meditation and sleep, whereas sona is more medically focused. But I’m concerned that what sona has built can be easily replicated and could ultimately be very difficult to defend over time.
Additionally, I think the current $20 million valuation does not reflect the risk and is just way too high, especially given that sona is basically pre-revenue.
Who should invest and why: We all know someone that struggles with mental health, and I do believe there is validity behind what sona has built. For that reason alone, I think it’s worth looking into the product — and if you’re going to become a user, you might as well do so by investing.
I think sona serves a very clear and growing need. And if it can successfully build a brand around the mission of music as medicine, there will be no shortage of potential acquisition partners (including the aforementioned Calm app).
That said, this round's price poorly accounts for the current economic conditions and the risk investors face (especially given how difficult product differentiation might be).
As always, startup investing is super high-risk, and anything can happen. Don't invest anything you can't afford to lose.
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