Silatha is a solution to retain women in the workplace through meditation & peer2peer support.
A strong presence of women is proven to be crucial for the success of a workplace. However, today it’s hard to retain top women talent.
Silatha has developed a programme to support companies in designing a healthy environment for women, by addressing their unique mental needs triggered by hormonal realities (pregnancy, menopause), caregiving roles (kids, elderly) and systemic gender bias that women face as leaders.
Ensuring to effectively deal with their personal and professional challenges, so that women can perform at their best and companies can attract, retain, and nurture top women talent.
We sat down with the founder Veroniek Vermeulen to find out more.
We’d love to know about your career before Silatha, how you came up with the idea, and what motivated you to start Silatha?
As a quick overview… I studied engineering (Technical University Delft (NL) and Brunel University London (UK)), and then spent 17+ years in global marketing (with a $2B responsibility). Since then I have spent 10 years immersed in meditation & coaching (ICF Certified – lived in monasteries all over the world).
My personal journey started in 2012 when I took time out from my career for a meditation retreat in Nepal. I had everything in life, and yet never felt fulfilled; I constantly desired more. I enjoyed the success, but I felt life was leading me. I wanted to regain control and consciously lead my life.
In the Himalayas, I had a life-changing realisation. I felt what it meant to be in the present moment. By contrast, our modern lifestyles are busy and preoccupied; we spend half of our time thinking about the past or future rather than being in the moment.
In our modern Western lives, there is always more to desire, which is, by nature, deeply unfulfilling. Meditation offers an alternative, to connect inwards. It allows us to nurture our inner qualities and strengths for long-term pleasure and true fulfilment.
I continued my learning with retreats in monasteries in Vietnam, Japan and Myanmar, and realised how important it is to have an anchor to build a meditation routine.
Knowing the corporate world well and seeing many women struggling with their mental-wellbeing due to the high pressure, it became apparent how the workplace is not designed for women’s specific mental well-being needs. This sparked the idea to transform the ancient wisdom of meditation for modern lifestyles and including peer-to-peer support, webinars and experts to really bring a holistic approach that works.
My personal life story has been my guide to building Silatha, and the many stories I heard from other women will keep driving me to change the world.
I’m a fighter for women’s equality. Builder of the first meditation community for women and on a mission to change the workplace to empower women with confidence and break through age-old taboos. Giving women a platform to be themselves and create their desired life.
What does your competitive landscape look like and how does Silatha differentiate itself?
Interestingly enough, no other company is offering what we do. There are meditation apps and generic well-being programmes for companies, still, they lack specific support for women’s needs (like pregnancy, menopause, combining motherhood and career, etc.) and peer-to-peer support. Particular apps that look into women’s issues, only focus on one of these issues, and community apps often have no specific focus and lack the mental well-being part. So we are unique in the market, creating change in the workplace. Tapping into a need companies have and are investing money in.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
Amongst others, here are some of our key achievements:
– Silatha received the Prestige Meditation App of the Year Award
– Mentioned by Sifted (from the Financial Times) as start-up to watch in the mental health industry
– Mentioned in 20+ world-renowned magazines like ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health (one of 20 best Mental Health Apps), Grazia, Marie Claire, and many more
– 4.8 out of 5-star rating in Apple App store worldwide
– We can count KPMG, Nike, GE, and Mondelez as our first clients
– Grown to over 70K downloads in just a few months
How do you plan to create a scalable and profitable business model?
We offer companies a subscription model where companies pay a fee for each woman participating in the Silatha program. We currently charge €500 per woman per year and will increase this over time to €1200 per woman per year. We team up women per pillar (a pillar can be Female Leadership, Combining mothership with career, menopause, etc) and gives the women guidance over the year. There are about 20 to 25 women per pillar and we can run as many pillars at the same time as they want.
Corporates can also choose to purchase the app only (so no experts, workshops etc) for a reduced price.
What do you plan to do with the money you raise?
- We are further improving our technology:
- Improve the onboarding, community features and private rooms for the companies
- We are also adding a women’s monthly cycle meditation series plus cycle journal
- We are going to add an AI-generated avatar best friend to the app, that helps her in reaching her well-being goals
2. We will employ a community manager to offer the best service to our corporate clients.
3. If we overfund, we will also add a new AI technology to ensure she can get 24/7 support with a unique feature that asks her the right questions and gives her the needed support on her specific topic that she needs.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I love sports and do so 5-6 times a week to balance the long working days. It varies from long 180km bike rides on weekends to running, boxing or swimming during the week. I love a good book (especially about human behaviour), and these days I often listen to audiobooks while running. I have travelled a lot (70 countries and have lived in 6 countries), but these days I travel less and enjoy the quietness of being home.
What is some advice you wish you knew before starting Silatha?
Everything is about humans, understanding you’re not your emotion and your thoughts, you’re the ocean, not the waves. Also, from the beginning, get strong advisors on your team that can help build the business.
Silatha is a great opportunity to invest in supporting companies in retaining their women talent and create a workplace where everyone flourishes. Check out Silatha’s campaign here.