(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Baltimore-based mental health tech startup Rose is adding a recognizable name from the Baltimore Ravens’ most recent Super Bowl win to its roster of supporters.
Torrey Smith, the former Ravens and University of Maryland wide receiver, is now an investor and brand ambassador for Rose, CEO Kavi Misri said. Smith’s stake was not disclosed, and he is investing as part of a larger seed round that was initially reported at $1.5 million. He will also work with the company on strategic initiatives, as well as be a spokesperson for the company.
“I’ve had my share of mental health struggles, which began in my childhood and led into my adult life. I experienced first-hand the gap in accessible resources to mental healthcare,” Smith said in a statement. “When I was introduced to Rose Health and its remote monitoring app, I immediately saw the benefits it provided to both doctors and patients. I want to play an active role in creating awareness surrounding this important issue and let the public know that there are resources available to help build mental health resilience and overcome challenges.”
Mental health has always been a priority for me. We must break the stigma and talk about it. I’m thankful for @RoseMHealth and their commitment to helping others. Can’t want to bring the technology to the center. Download https://t.co/fUt6BMsn25 #smartermentalhealth #rosehealth pic.twitter.com/SYbBqR3PEx
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 2, 2020
Founded out of Johns Hopkins, Rose makes a mobile application that uses AI and natural language processing to monitor patients and identify potential signs of symptoms based on responses to questions. The company focuses mostly on gaining users via primary care providers, who also get access to a dashboard.
Now, it is also rolling out a direct-to-consumer offering, with the app freely available to download. The company also has a “concierge” offering for employers, in which Rose helps provide employees with access to a clinician with the help of a matching algorithm, and follow up.
Smith’s celebrity will help to raise the company’s profile in the eyes of the general public that would be interested in these services. As Misri points out, it doesn’t hurt to have the “best wide receiver the Ravens have ever drafted” and a two-time Super Bowl champion advocating for you. But it was also important to Rose the relationship go beyond a pitch, so Misri sees Smith and the company having a “long-term relationship.”
“We don’t want a token spokesperson who can just read our speeches,” Misri said. “We want an ambassador that understands what we’re trying to do, and understands the difference that we’re trying to make in mental health.”
Smith and Rose also share commonality that they’re building in Baltimore.
Last month, Smith and his wife, Chanel, announced that their nonprofit, the Level82 Fund, is partnering with Baltimore City Rec and Parks to revitalize and bring programming to the Hilton Recreation Center in West Baltimore.
Smith has also shown an interest in tech and its role in providing opportunity. About a year ago, he spoke about digital equity at a Digi.City event at downtown coworking space Spark Baltimore. Backing Rose indicates it wasn’t just a one-time appearance in the local startup game.
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