There’s Magic in the Room at Pitch Day: Healium’s Story


For the startup Healium, and the winner of Pitch Day 2022, getting a foot in the door with the NFLPA was an alluring goal. “The opportunity to get our innovations and our story in front of a huge room of influencers was really attractive to us,” explains Sarah Hill, founder, CEO and Chief Storyteller of Healium.  

A New Take on Mental Wellness

In the Human Performance, Health Tech & Wellness space, Healium reimagines mental wellness by allowing people to train inside virtual worlds with their body’s electricity via any wearable. The company’s augmented and virtual reality solutions blend storytelling, neuroscience and game design to promote self-management of stress, sleep and human performance. Real-time feedback empowers discovery of healing power inside consumers by shirting electroencephalogram (EEG) brain patterns, heart rate and other biometrics.    

NFLPA Pitch Day was the boost the startup was looking for. Pitch Day helps early-stage companies led by innovative entrepreneurs accelerate their businesses by providing an opportunity to leverage the influential power of professional athletes and capitalize on the marketing prestige of the NFLPA. “It’s a game-changer for us,” says Hill. “What the NFLPA’s Pitch Day event allowed us to do was to have a seat at the table.”    

Sharing a Common Mission

The NFLPA and Healium are well aligned on a particular mission: valuing the importance of mental wellness. The company was aware of the work that the NFLPA had done: bringing committees together, fueling conversations and establishing objectives and goals around mental wellness protocols – a reason why they decided to participate in Pitch Day.    

For its win, Healium received $25,000 in player marketing services from the NFLPA, $25,000 in services from licensing, marketing, and content powerhouse OneTeam Partners, business resource contributions from a purpose-driven financial services company, Truist and consultation from Allied Sports and Allied Global Marketing. But it was what happened after and because of Pitch Day that really lit the fire. 

Next Level Opportunities

“Immediately after we won Pitch Day, we had investors rushing our booth,” says Hill, later receiving investment from investors that the company met at the event. The list of partners, on and off the field, continues to grow including Daryl Nelson, the Director of Team Growth & Development for the Las Vegas Raiders and now a part of Healium’s advisory board. Hill explains that had it not been for Pitch Day, her company would likely not have made such valuable connections and as fast. “The moment we were announced the winner, doors opened up for us and we're grateful for that opportunity because it might not have otherwise happened so quickly.”   

The company has grown leaps and bounds since Pitch Day. Shortly after their win, Healium had a presence at AdWeek’s Brandweek Summit and had NFL players – Brennan Scarlett and Byron Jones – come by and test out their products. Hill explains that’s one way the company learns what works for athletes. “NFL players tell us they find the light in the technology. They are using it before high stress, high performance events. They are using it to downshift their nervous system before sleep.”    

Beyond sports, the company is also focused on supporting frontline healthcare workers navigate the “stress Olympics” by equipping users with what Hill refers to as “mental health armor” and drug-less, non-harmful coping mechanisms that allow them to learn and practice self-regulation. The company recently had its 8th peer-reviewed journal published, and even more impressively, announced an agreement with the Mayo Clinic that will provide subject matter experts to assist in the development of immersive mental health and fitness capabilities utilizing virtual and augmented reality. The Mayo Clinic also is among the investors in Healium’s recent $3.6 million oversubscribed seed round.  

Winning Pitch Day and becoming involved with the NFLPA became a breakthrough moment for Healium. Hill is thrilled to be locking arms with the NFLPA and sums up her experience at Pitch Day: “There's some real magic that happens in the room when they bring all those people together.”     

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