Enjoy the Ride as Much as the Destination

Enjoy the Ride as Much as the Destination

The mental health industry is still in its infancy. When Safe Space first started as an idea in 2017, no one wanted to talk about mental health, it was so taboo that investors were convinced it will never work in Asia. 

For 3 years, whilst still holding a full time job, I had to create our own research to convince potential investors that if we combined technology and mental health, we will solve the pain points Asians were facing which were faster, affordable but discreet access to quality mental healthcare. 

Whilst this was stressful and at many times, I felt like giving up, I would use aromatherapy to calm me down. Scents like lavender and geranium were a staple in my shower routine to unwind and reset after a long day. 

Fast forward to 2020, the year of COVID-19. We saw a decline in mental health on a global scale. This was finally our turning point to make a difference and to prove that there is a huge market for mental health technology. We saw a 64% increase in users as of April 2020 alone, we had a 200% increase in therapist sign ups as they were looking to us to digitally transform and accelerate their physical practice. The most significant change was the openness of all government bodies and corporations looking to us to provide a mental health solution for their employees. 

What this experience has taught me was resilience. How badly did I want my startup idea to succeed? What steps do I need to take to get there? I knew it was a matter of not only traction but being at the right place, at the right time. I’m glad Safe Space stuck through and survived all the adversities thrown at us. 

For anyone else looking to start their own venture but are unsure if they should get started, simply start by writing down what’s the problem and solution you’re looking to tackle. Determine what are the action items you need to roll it out. Join incubators and accelerators to guide you. 

Entrepreneurship is a wild but rewarding ride. You’ll grow more than 10x in a span of 1 year. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride as much as the destination.


Antoinette Patterson is the Co-founder and CEO of Safe Space, a tele-therapy platform for mental health that is designed to recommend therapists based on users’ symptoms and therapist preference, from language, to gender and price.