Melina Sánchez Montañés, Impact First Investments, Interview with Irad Eichler, CEO at 7Chairs


Irad Eichler is a social entrepreneur who co-founded 7Chairs in 2019. 7Chairs is a teletherapy startup focused on providing emotional support to everyone who is dealing with a life crisis, everywhere. The platform allows patients to meet in intimate, professionally facilitated groups.

7Chairs has raised over $2.7 million led by NFX and Sir Ronald Cohen

Melina Sánchez Montañés is investing in the most profitable impact tech startups with ties to Israel through Impact First Investments. She also helps entrepreneurs leverage their impact to create value for their companies. Melina is supporting the Global Impact Tech Alliance, a network of impact tech practitioners, in its partnership building and execution strategy.

Interview Questions:

Q1: Personal story | Irad, throughout your career you have combined business and impact in the mental health space, first with Shekulo Tov and now with 7Chairs. Can you share with us where your passion to make mental health less stigmatized and more accessible comes from? (reference to mother’s story)

Q2: Vision | You have now been focused on 7Chairs for a bit more than a year. What grand vision are you and your co-founder Dan Landa working towards?

Q3: 7Chairs intro | Tell us more about 7Chairs

Q4: Adoption | Despite the decrease in mental health stigma over the last decades, a majority of people still don’t seek the behavioral care they need. In contrast with other healthcare segments, such as traditional primary care delivery, one could argue that mental health solutions are not ready for mass adoption. From your own customer discovery research, what behavioral barriers have you seen in the adoption of mental health therapies, especially in the digital world?

Q5: COVID-19 | COVID-19 has both accelerated the need and reduced the availability of mental health services. For example, in China healthcare workers have reported high rates of depression during the pandemic. We also know that social isolation increases the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. How has COVID affected the demand for mental health services, and more specifically, how has 7Chairs responded to the pandemic?

Q6: Online therapies | On your website, you mention that “research has shown that online therapy can be as helpful as meeting with a therapist in person.” Is this also the case with online group therapies? Is this different model of group therapy also clinically proven to be as effective as in-person group therapies? (note: different in that you offer ‘chat’ group therapies and not just video therapies)

Q7: Competition | Over the last decade, a series of online therapy startups have emerged in the mental health ecosystem, both in Israel and around the world. One of the big players in Israel is Talkspace - which with over 1 million users offers affordable one-to-one sessions with licensed therapists. How is 7Chairs different from other online therapy startups like Talkspace, and how would define your competitive advantage?

Q8: Business model | Can you walk us through your business and pricing model?

Q9: Scalability | Your business model is based on recruiting licensed therapists that conduct online group sessions. This is very different from other preventive mental health solutions, like meditation apps, that are exclusively focused on acquiring end customers. How does your dependence on recruiting licensed therapists (the “facilitators”) limit your growth and scalability ambitions? How do you plan to recruit these professionals in a more scalable way in the future?

Q10: Funding | 7Chairs recently closed a 2.7M seed round led by NFX and impact guru Sir Ronald Cohen. This is an interesting mix of traditional venture capital and impact capital – why raising impact money specifically? And more generally, how do you see the impact venture capital ecosystem evolving?

Q11: Israel | Let’s bring it back home. As you well know, there are not that many mental health startups in Israel, and most of them - except for a few like XR Health and Valera Health – are still very early in their growth journey. Why founding a mental health startup in Israel? How is the Israeli mental health ecosystem different from other markets, if at all? Do you see any distinctive factors in terms of focus, technology or reach?

Q12: Next steps | What are the the next steps for 7Chairs, and what keeps you up at night?


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