Connection, Community And ‘Create The Love’: Why Mark Groves And Aaron Albert Cofounded The Wellness App, Mine’d
When human connection specialist Mark Groves (aka “Create The Love”) and health and fitness tech founder Aaron Albert started developing the wellness app Mine’d back in 2019, they could not have predicted just how necessary it would be in the face of a pandemic and impending loneliness crisis.
Referred to as “The World's First Emotional Network,” Mine’d is known as “a digital platform with human pathos.” The key to Mine’d is that whether you’re just starting your journey or it’s already underway, it connects you with top emotional wellness experts as well as the power of community, through daily live and on-demand classes.
The heartbeat of Mine’d is Mark Groves, who is known on his platforms as “Create The Love” and who has amassed a global Instagram reach of nearly 1 million followers, and Aaron Albert, who has worked in the health and wellness space, helping companies build product, experience and community.
Groves and Albert are the perfect pair to bring this platform to life: Groves focuses on the art of building human connections via the Mark Groves Podcast, his Create the Love cards, and other channels (such as Mine’d, where he is one of the experts), while Albert comes from the group fitness space, including serving as the co-creator of the largest chain of boutique spin studios in Southeast Asia, Absolute Cycle, where he successfully merged two of his personal passions: fitness and motivation. Over the past four years, Albert honed in on creating communities and products at multiple consumer, wellness and tech companies, including Journey Live, Shine Text, Wave Meditation, Sweat with Studio, and Julianne Hough’s KINRGY.
When Albert approached Groves about cofounding Mine’d, he asked: “Do you want to build the Peloton for emotional wellness and mental health?”
This comparison is not a stretch, as Mine’d leans into the power of community, live sessions with world-class experts on a wide spectrum of specific topics, and a deep archive of ‘on-demand’ content and previously-recorded sessions.
Rather than flexing your physical muscles, Mine’d focuses on developing your emotional health and self-growth — in whatever category of life you are looking to expand.
For Groves, it was a no-brainer, as “Peloton puts the best instructors with the best workouts right in your living room, in a way that’s fun and frictionless.”
Mine’d users essentially have a best-in-class panel or board of advisors at their fingertips to listen to and watch, whenever, wherever they want, on their devices.
To date, Albert and Groves have raised $650k from angels and Techstars. The app’s content is resonating with audiences, as evidenced by these notable stats:
- Over 80k downloads
- Over 1M videos have been watched
- Over 200K live comments have been made
- The average daily Mine’d user is spending about an hour and 15 minutes on the platform.
Its rapid-fire success and momentum can be attributed to several factors: for starters, its vetted lineup of wellness experts, offering live sessions to the Mine’d community. From Mark Groves, professor and psychologist Dr. Alexandra Solomon, marriage and family therapist Vienna Pharaon, sex and relationship therapist Shadeen Francis, author and “shame-buster”’ Jennifer Pastiloff, to author and personal growth expert Sylvester McNutt and Nike Master Trainer and human performance specialist Branden Collinsworth, the experts and specialists on the platform each come with their own credibility and community.
(From the talent standpoint, the experts have shared that they feel safer doing their live sessions on a “closed” platform like Mine’d rather than on Instagram, which is an unregulated space that often comes with trolls and negative comments.)
Another key to the app’s growth is that it was offered for free upon its August 2020 launch, for the first year and a half. After all, when launching a digital platform focused on mental health and emotional wellness during a pandemic, you know it’s going to help many people — so Albert and Groves wanted it to reach and serve as many people as possible, and to “meet them where they’re at.”
As Groves points out: “The research shows that when you go to Facebook or some social media platforms, you leave not feeling as good about yourself. So we thought, how do we create a space where you don’t get lost down a rabbit hole of comparisonitis?”
It’s also aimed at people who are curious about an area of their life where they’re trying to expand, but who aren’t necessarily ready for one-on-one sessions with an expert or coaching. Mine’d is an avenue to help provide this access.
The origin story for Mine’d can be traced back to Groves’ original role as a “Human Connection Specialist.” As a result of his ‘real talk’ on all things relationship advice and everything to do with self-development, Groves has cultivated a loyal following and community thanks to his authentic — and what he refers to as “no-BS relationship advice” — on Instagram Lives and as a keynote speaker.
Albert was breaking ground and making a name for himself as a savvy tech founder in the health and wellness space, but he found himself navigating unchartered territory: heartbreak.
So when a friend shared one of Groves’ Instagram posts with Albert in an effort to help him feel better, Albert realized it was the path to his healing journey and dove into Groves’ relationship advice (and took one of his courses).
He took a chance and reached out to Groves via social media for some coaching (when Groves was still personally taking on one-on-one coaching with clients), and not only did Albert’s heart heal, but it marked the beginning of a beautiful ‘bromance’ and business partnership between Albert and Groves.
They didn't want to build another faceless tech company, but rather a human company driven by engaging, relatable experts, while fostering a sense of community.
Albert shares: “We didn't want it to feel like a doctor's office — we wanted to recreate the conversation around mental health. When we looked at emotional health, we wanted to reinvent the relationship that folks have with it. Historically, you think of ‘self-help’ and therapy as singular.”
When they conceived of Mine’d in 2019, they hadn’t anticipated the tremendous need for the digital platform.
They knew they had to offer Mine’d for free to early adaptors during 2020 and through most of 2021 — this meant access to a world-class roster of mental health, self-development and emotional wellness experts and their list of live and on-demand sessions. (Today, the app is available for download at a monthly or annual rate. Membership grants users access to each expert’s library of content and sessions.)
Another “flex” and point of difference between Mine’d and other digital platforms is that Albert and Groves pride themselves on vetting each expert according to a strict list of criteria, or four pillars: credibility, alignment (“Are these people authentically living what they teach? And are they aligned with the Mine’d mission?”), representation (“Are we being representative of the world that we actually live in, not of the world that white people just live in?”), and entertainment factor.
The experts are the best in their respective fields — and in this era marked by a proliferation of self-proclaimed mental health experts and life coaches, it’s critical to the Mine’d cofounders that their stamp of approval is given. (Coaching doesn’t necessarily have a central regulating body in the way there is for medical fields, for example.)
With topics ranging from relationships, sex and self-love, to family, money, purpose, and spirituality, Mine’d covers all the categories that help us “be a better human.” There’s also a strong focus on “transformational leadership”, which was a four-part series on why nurturing the whole person is imperative for professional and organizational success.
What’s next for Mine’d?
Albert and Groves have seen the value in giving the Mine’d community more access to its experts, so they are creating expert-specific communities where users can continue the conversations they’re having on the live sessions, in what almost feels like real-time.
As Albert explains, this was a solution to “how do we give people more access in a one-to-many setting, without going too far down the path of one-to-one?”
Another fun update for Mine’d is releasing its version of audio sessions, which will allow for people to actually speak with the experts in real time, by coming up “on stage” (à la Clubhouse) and chatting with them.
Albert explains: “We asked, ‘in a dream world, what would you want to be able to do?’ And people said, ‘I would love to just have a cup of coffee with Mark Groves or Dr. Solomon or Sly (Sylvester McNutt). And so we really wanted to figure out, How can we do that for folks?”
The newest update to launch is the “Mine’d Minutes,” as a result of feedback from users who are fans of the 15- to 20-minute sessions, but would love something every day that they can take away. As a result, they will be dropping more snackable pieces of daily content that will come from each expert, which will feature actionable tools and tips all summed up in one to two minutes — “it's like getting your morning quote, but spoken by one of the Mine’d experts,” Albert explains.
Amid all the updates and features, the power of community is still one of the strongest assets at the pulse of Mine’d.
“You're in relationship with everything that's not you,” Groves explains. “So the purpose of Mine’d is to catch you in whatever space that you're having that friction, to be able to learn how to grow from whatever that friction is. That's why community was so important. Because if we build it upon that, then everything else is magic.”