Company: TalkSession, Inc., New York, NY, U.S.A.
Company Description: TalkSession is a healthcare technology company that is developing a web-based platform to foster remote therapy sessions between mental healthcare providers and patients. TalkSession facilitates increased access, greater convenience, and an enhanced experience.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Products –10 or Less Employees
Nomination Title: Melissa Thompson: Driving healthcare innovation through technology
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Since July 2012, Melissa Thompson has:
- Created a cutting-edge, first-to-market product – a mobile, bidirectional video tool using WebRTC protocol, making TalkSession the first company to bring this real-time video technology to a production setting. This end-to-end, HIPAA-compliant video solution is of significantly higher quality than current mainstream products, as the visual representation and audio streaming are in real time, thus eliminating any delay between image and sound, and improving the effectiveness of communication.
- Secured a three-year partnership with GE’s healthymagination initiative and StartUp Health Academy’s Entrepreneurship program
- Won a competition for an innovative pilot design for an integrative and collaborative care model by the NYC Economic Development Corporation
- Was honored by Springboard Enterprises to be part of their 2013 Life Sciences Accelerator, a select group of women-led companies in healthcare
- Selected and vetted a group of 50 high profile mental health professionals who are TalkSession’s clients, advocates, and extended team members
- Raised a seed round of financing in three tranches of convertible equity debt notes from angel investors
- Established The TalkSession Foundation to foster mental healthcare for those in need
- Hired a robust team that includes: a Chief Medical Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Lead Engineer, Psychiatrist-in-Residence, Head of User Experience, Head of Marketing, Editor-in-Chief, Head of Design
- Was featured as a healthcare innovator in Fast Company, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Mashable, TechCrunch, CBS SmartPlanet, Fox Business News, Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, TechJournal, BusinessWeek, GigaOM, and CNN Money
- Established a widely read regular column on healthcare, technology, and social impact on The Huffington Post
- Created widely-used digital-versions of surveys of questionnaires used by mental health providers that were traditionally pen-and-paper
- Created an online forum to expand referral networks and relevancy for patient/provider relationships in NYC - available to the TalkSession network
- Supported The Headstrong Project, a non-profited aimed to support the mental healthcare of veterans and their families
- Held TalkSession’s first OpenSession – a panel on The Future of Mental Healthcare, including leading figures in behavioral health – policymakers, physicians, a New York Times best-selling author, and a prominent business executive and entrepreneur to a group of 250 guests at Columbia’s Low Memorial Library
- Worked every day to fight the stigma surrounding mental health-related issues and to do good, while also doing well
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Melissa Thompson is on a mission to make mental healthcare more accessible and acceptable. She founded TalkSession to patient increase access to behavioral healthcare through cutting-edge technology. Melissa holds a BA from Barnard College in Economics and studied Chinese and global business strategy at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. She earned her MBA from Columbia Business School, with a focus on social entrepreneurship. Before founding TalkSession Melissa spent several years as a trader at Goldman Sachs, led business development for several technology startups, and is the Technology Advisor to multiple non-profits focused on mental healthcare parity and women-led enterprises. In her free moments, Melissa enjoys surfing and scrabble.