ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One year after introducing a mental health initiative aimed at tackling addiction among entrepreneurs, QED Investors today expanded the program to more than 16,000 employees at its Spanish-language portfolio companies across Latin America.
The program, called ‘Shatterproof Just Five’ and offered in partnership with Operation Lighthouse, is focused on eliminating the stigma of talking about substance abuse in the workplace.
Operation Lighthouse is a nonprofit organization established by the family of Greg Mazanec, a QED Investors partner who lost his life in July 2019 after suffering from substance use disorder.
More than 400 people across 14 U.S.-based QED portfolio companies have taken part in the self-paced, anonymous program over the past 12 months. Now, a Spanish version of the program is being offered to 22 financial technology companies across Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Just Five is an online, self-paced, mobile-enabled program that delivers – in just five minutes per lesson – critical concepts and facts regarding addiction. Through guided learning experiences, animated and expert videos, interactive learning and supplemental materials, participants learn who is at risk, how to discern whether a person may have a substance use disorder, how to support loved ones with the disease and more.
QED Investors initially piloted the educational programming free of charge to three U.S. portfolio companies. Building on the success of the pilot, it was expanded to its entire domestic portfolio last summer and will now be extended into Mexico and South America.
QED Investors aims to partner with other VC firms to share the program with their own portfolio companies to ensure everyone in the startup and entrepreneur ecosystem knows where to turn for help and support.
“The path of early stage entrepreneurship can, at times, create a heavy burden on founders,” said QED Investors Managing Partner Nigel Morris. “The weight of these expectations and responsibilities, often experienced alone, is stressful and can lead to increased anxiety, substance abuse, addiction and mental health concerns. Entrepreneurs are disproportionately affected. QED has sadly seen first-hand the devastating real-life impact this can have on teams and families.
“We were excited by the positive reception Just Five received when we rolled it out with our U.S. portfolio companies last year, and we couldn’t be more proud to continue to reduce the stigma of talking about addiction and substance abuse in the broader startup ecosystem in Latin America. If we can help just one person feel supported enough to open up about their struggles and receive the help they need, we will consider this a meaningful and resounding success.”
Following the initial outreach in the U.S., more than 80% of people who took part in the program said they were likely to recommend it to a friend or colleague. Seventy-one percent of the respondents saying it was easier to discuss addition because of the program, and more than half of the users said their company culture has become more open to talking about these topics.
Operation Lighthouse offers startup leaders and employees a pathway to personal and corporate health by providing education about the prevention, recognition and management of substance use disorder and other mental health issues.
Beyond education, Operation Lighthouse provides access to the tools for employees to confidentially evaluate their risk and need for help with guidance to evidence-based treatment.
The Just Five curriculum is provided by national nonprofit Shatterproof, an organization that aims to reverse the addiction crisis in the United States through three pillars of work: revolutionizing the addiction treatment system, breaking down addiction-related stigmas and supporting and empowering our communities.
“Addiction and overdose are a significant public health issue throughout the world. Despite decades of action from nonprofits, healthcare providers, those with lived experience and government agencies, stigma remains one of the largest and most persistent drivers of negative outcomes for those struggling with addiction,” said Shatterproof Executive Vice President, Stephen D’Antonio.
“Just Five provides easy access to critical information and resources giving employers and their communities a simple and scalable tool to deliver both. More than 75,000 employees and their families have utilized the tool to date. We commend Operation Lighthouse for their commitment to this critical tool for employees and their loved ones.”
About Operation Lighthouse
Operation Lighthouse offers startup leaders and employees a pathway to personal and corporate health by providing education about the prevention, recognition, and management of SUD and other mental health issues. Beyond education, Operation Lighthouse provides access to the tools for employees to confidentially evaluate their risk and need for help with guidance to evidence-based treatment if needed. By encouraging leaders to create a supportive and stigma-free healthy workplace, companies can assist their employees through recovery and return to fully productive work. A win-win.
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the U.S. Shatterproof harnesses the models of business, the rigor of science and the power of a national movement to create change and save lives through three pillars of work: revolutionizing the addiction treatment system, breaking down addiction-related stigmas and supporting and empowering our communities. Find Shatterproof on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube: @ShatterproofHQ or follow them on Instagram at @weareshatterproof. To learn more, visit www.Shatterproof.org.
About QED Investors
QED Investors is a global leading venture capital firm based in Alexandria, Va. Founded by Nigel Morris and Frank Rotman in 2007, QED Investors is focused on investing in disruptive financial services companies worldwide. QED Investors is dedicated to building great businesses and uses a unique, hands-on approach that leverages its partners’ decades of entrepreneurial and operational experience, helping its companies achieve breakthrough growth. Notable investments include AvidXchange, Bitso, ClearScore, Current, Creditas, Credit Karma, Kavak, Klarna, Konfio, Loft, Mission Lane, Nubank, QuintoAndar, Remitly and SoFi. To learn more, visit www.QEDInvestors.com.