Startup Runway is known for connecting underrepresented founders from remarkable startups with investors for a chance to win the $10k prize along with walking away with a great amount of knowledge. Founders from many different backgrounds are all given an equal chance to showcase their business. Bens Hilaire is an African American founder who built the mobile app TooDeep who has made a name for himself and his company.

TooDeep is a mobile peer-to-peer support platform where people can share their thoughts and feelings through text and audio recordings. The app allows users to express their emotions while receiving support from a caring community. Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, sickness, a loss, addiction, heartbreak, identity issues, or just flat-out feel alone, TooDeep cares about it! Along with expressing your emotions safely, administrators monitor the app to ensure no bullying or abuse.

The inspiration of TooDeep began when its founder, Bens Hilaire, found himself dealing with depression and anxiety. All in the same season, his first significant company failed, his dad had a life-threatening stroke while battling prostate cancer, and his mother was hospitalized due to breast cancer complications. As he spiraled deeper and deeper into depression, the fear of judgment prevented Bens from reaching out for help from his family and friends. Unable to find a platform where he can express his emotions and receive support, Bens created TooDeep.

Once TooDeep launched, Bens frequently monitored the app and was surprised to find out that people were searching for keywords such as depression, sadness, loneliness, and stress which lead them to find TooDeep in the AppStore. Bens decided to apply to Startup Runway to gain more insight into tackling his business’s marketing side, but he came out with much more.

“I loved my experience at Startup Runway. I loved the quick mentoring sessions, the advice, and the details on how to tackle small problems in a business. My favorite things about Startup Runway was the networking, the new audience provided that turned into supporters, and winning the $10k grant we used for a new feature and marketing.”

Since winning Startup Runway, TooDeep has been doing well. Social media followers have increased, new partnerships are in the works, and Bens has been in talks with a big accelerator who noticed them at Startup Runway. Bens has been working on launching a new live audio series called Dive Deeper and TooDeep 2.0. Dive Deeper is about taking a more in-depth look into ourselves and peeling back the layers to get to the core of how we can truly achieve peace of mind while following our paths. TooDeep 2.0 will allow users to add each other as friends, connect one on one, go live via audio, listen to TooDeep original series, and more.


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About Startup Runway

The Startup Runway Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is the largest pitch event in the country for underrepresented founders. The mission of Startup Runway is to introduce top under-represented founders to their first professional investor. Under-represented founders lead 40% of all startups, yet receive less than 5% of venture capital. Since its inception in 2016, Finalists in the program have been six times more successful at finding funding. One in three founders who pitched at Startup Runway successfully raised at least a seed round. More here: