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Stigma Podcast - Mental Health

Jul 11, 2020

Eric Dresdale joins me to talk about building startups in the mental health and addiction space.  Eric was one of the earliest entrepreneurs to build a startup in this space called “Next Step” which he sold to True Link Financial back in 2016.

He now spends a lot of time advising startups in the mental health space and has some unique insights into care models, care delivery, addiction treatment, and where entrepreneurs can find opportunity to innovate today.

Eric on LinkedIn, KNWN Technologies


  1. Eric was one of the earliest entrepreneurs to build a business in the mental health and addiction recovery startup space. Eric came up with an idea based on his experience in early recovery called, “Next Step.”   Next Step was a reloadable prepaid MasterCard / debit card program that allowed families and behavioral healthcare providers to be able to fund cardholder's accounts and set customizable spending parameters in real time.

  2. Sold the Company to True Link Financial and has focused on advising startups in the behavioral health space in recent years.

  3. In this conversation, Eric shares his story of addiction to pain killers and how he led him to crash and burn from his high paying job working for the chairman of Cushman and Wakefield in NYC as a real estate broker.

  4. He shared about his initial experiences going to 12-step meetings to get help and how he didn’t feel like he fit in. Eric shared that he quickly gave up on those meetings because he felt like he didn’t find anyone else in those meetings that seemed to be like him.

  5. After getting fired from his job, he had a night of binging on drugs that should have killed him. Then, he finally asked for help and found his way to rehab in October of 2010.

  6. Eric was one of the earliest innovators in the mental health space and has been advising a lot of startups in the space. He gives a number of insights on startups in the space, business models, care models and more. 

  7. Eric does a great job of breaking down the treatment center industry and categorizing the types of treatments centers.

Connect with the Stigma Podcast in the following ways:
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Connect with host Stephen Hays here: Stephen Hays Personal Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, What If Ventures (Mental Health Venture Fund)