Entrepreneur Spotlight: Gus Jenkins & Mental.ly
Chicago, IL, May 15, 2020 – In partnership with Melvina Masterminds, founded by Comedian Hannibal Buress, Envolve Entrepreneurship co-hosted their inaugural All*Star Business Pitch Competition in Chicago this past February. The event was the brainchild of Principal Tulani Watkins and we were thrilled to engage with the local West Chicago community at Amundsen Park.
We were impressed with so many talented entrepreneurs on the rise. Gus Jenkins, founder of Mental.ly App, won first place in this competition. Mental.ly is a platform that monitors an individual’s emotional and mental sentiment over time and highlights significant topics through the use of journaling, enabled by AI engine, and makes mental health resources available at a lower cost. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re featuring Gus and the great work that Mental.ly App is doing in the mental health space.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a first generation college graduate from Philadelphia. Going to college at Villanova opened up a world of opportunities for me that I didn’t know exist such as engineering and entrepreneurship. I genuinely believe that one way to change the world is to build a company that creates lasting value. Before the pandemic I really enjoyed going salsa dancing, now I enjoy reading and DJing in my spare time.
What motivated you to create the Mental.ly App?
I wanted to create something that solved a problem that I was experiencing myself using data science and Artificial intelligence. The problem was tracking my sentiment over time & having a safe space to vent all at low-cost.
What excites you most about the Mental.ly App?
Learning and potentially helping people. In building Mental.ly, I’m learning about new technologies & the ecosystem of mental health/psychology. I’m also learning more about people and their stories with mental health.
How does the Mental.ly App have an impact on the mental health field?
Currently, the app helps people track their emotional/mental sentiment over time through online journaling. We would like to build additional features for therapists to help with their business needs in the near future.
What are the main challenges of the Mental.ly App?
Currently, the main challenge of Mental.ly is finding product market fit just like any early stage company.
What are the future plans for the Mental.ly App?
There is some uncertainty but listening to our users and understanding the mental health ecosystem more will help guide us.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting their own business?
I would say start with a problem you want to solve, not an idea. I would also suggest finding a problem to solve that many people are experiencing (i.e. a multi-billion dollar market). And lastly, think big but start small. Check us out at www.mentallyapp.co!