This Victoria entrepreneur is providing anxiety relief to millions

Plus, the local company giving Ukrainian amputees a helping hand.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, meet the anxiety relief tool supporting millions around the world, the entrepreneurs kickstarting Victoria's tech ecosystem post-pandemic, and the leaders fundraising for amputees in Ukraine.

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Anxiety relief in your pocket

Ania Wysocka, founder of Rootd. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

When Ania Wysocka experienced her first panic attack, she didn't know what to do. "I was far away from home, I was on student loans, I didn't have a lot of access to more traditional resources," she told Victoria Tech Journal. After lugging around physical resources that would help her respond to her anxiety, she looked at her phone and saw the potential to build a mobile solution instead. Today, Wysocka is the founder of Rootd, an app that supports individuals through anxiety and panic attacks, with 2.4 million downloads to date.

Wysocka, who is based in both Victoria and Vancouver, officially launched Rootd in 2019 and has bootstrapped the venture since then. Central to the application is an "anxiety relief monster" Ron, who walks the user through a series of prompts when faced with a panic attack. Aside from providing immediate relief, Rootd also features spaces to journal, complete breathing exercises, and conduct audio-guided body scans.

Wysocka regularly receives direct messages over social media about how the app has changed users' lives. "Some people call it life-saving, which is just incredible," she said. "If you're in those really dire moments of anxiety and panic attacks, finding something that really speaks to you and resonates is huge. And I'm just so happy that Rootd is able to be that for different people."

When Rootd first launched, there weren't many mobile solutions for mental health, Wysocka said. But the isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the destigmatizing of mental health relief, including a suite of apps today that can help users meditate, reflect, or sleep better. "What makes [Rootd] different is its focus on panic attacks," said Wysocka. "So it's taking something that's very scary and making it more friendly and approachable."

📰 More Victoria innovation news

🦾 A helping hand: In January 2023, Victoria Hand Project launched a pilot project in Ukraine, providing five in-need amputees with prosthetic arms. Today, the Hands for Ukraine fundraising campaign aims to support 50 amputees with prosthetic care, alongside fully equipping partner sites with the materials needed to support those affected. Learn more.

🍽️ Moving restaurants online: Cuboh, a platform for the food and beverage industry that consolidates delivery orders into one place, recently launched its first free e-book to support restaurants with unlocking additional revenue through online delivery. Read now.

🐪 Days in the desert: Cailin Burmaster, mission specialist at Open Ocean Robotics, shares field notes from Bahrain, where the company went in November 2022 to participate in the US Navy’s Digital Horizons exercise. Read now.

🐋 Whale whale whale... A MarineLabs sensor buoy and humpback whales were captured in the same series of photographs, taken just outside of Ucluelet near Amphitrite Point Light. See them.

💊 Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company focused on solutions for autoimmune diseases, reported $28.4 million and $134.0 million for the fourth quarter and full year ending 2022. Read more.

🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

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