Prince Harry joins Silicon Valley mental health start-up

Britain’s Prince Harry speaks at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Britain May 6, 2019.
Steve Parsons | Pool | Reuters

LONDON – Prince Harry has joined Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp as its chief impact officer, after stepping back from Britain’s royal family and moving to California with his wife Meghan.  

Founded in San Francisco in 2013, BetterUp is a coaching and mental health platform. The company was most recently valued at $1.73 billion following a $125 million investment round.

The news of Harry’s appointment was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed in a BetterUp blog post on Tuesday.

It’s his first official role at a private company since he stepped down from being a working member of the royal family.

He and Meghan recently opened up in an interview with Oprah Winfrey about why they left Britain and stepped away from their royal duties. During the interview, broadcast earlier this month, Meghan made allegations of racism and detailed a lack of support by the royal family for her mental health issues.

Breaking down taboos

In his new role, the Duke of Sussex will focus on driving advocacy and awareness for mental fitness, guiding BetterUp’s mission, and expanding the company’s community.

BetterUp claims that its network of over 2,000 coaches have served more than 100,000 members to date. BetterUp’s coaches have worked with staff at organizations including NASA, Warner Media, Mars and Snapchat-owner Snap.

Harry has attempted to break down taboos around mental health over the last several years and he’s spoken about his own mental health on a number of occasions.

He said he personally found working with a BetterUp coach to be “invaluable,” adding that the coach gave him “sound advice” and “a fresh perspective.”

Explaining why he’s joining BetterUp, he said he firmly believes that “focusing on and prioritizing our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us.”

Opening up

Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, is believed to have suffered from depression during her marriage to Prince Charles, Harry’s father.

Harry said he’s learned in his own life the “power of transforming pain into purpose,” and that he learned about “mental resilience” during his time in the military.

BetterUp is led by Alexi Robichaux, who said he is “energized” by Harry’s “model of inspiration and impact through action.”

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