Connecting Latinos with Mental Wellbeing Professionals
During the latest Small Business & Startup Stories DSM podcast, Carlos Arguello, founder of Sevelyn, a mental wellbeing platform based out of Greater Des Moines (DSM), spoke about emotional wellbeing and challenges related to the Latino community.
Growing up, Arguello was drawn to travel and wanted to be a pilot. He also played baseball — pitcher and second baseman — but while passionate about the sport, he didn’t take it to the next level. His third passion was an interest in entrepreneurship, and he felt compelled to be in charge of his own destiny. From a young age, growing up in California, Arguello held car washes, washed windows and found other ways to make money outside of his allowance. He enjoys watching things flourish and materialize through the creative process. Once he read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki around the age of 14, he learned what wealth really means and how it affords a person more time, freedom and opportunities. The book’s message about creating systems also resonated with him.
When he moved to Iowa in middle school, Arguello started a translation business. He was called in to help a woman in labor who didn’t speak English. From there, he received calls from the local police, court system, school system and others. Since he had just read the Kiyosaki book, he asked himself if he could make some money by creating a translation business. Further, how could he do this in a way that would create a system and automate it around the limitations of his own time? He persevered and grew his system around translation and interpretation services, eventually building software that automated submitted documents or recordings. Clients could upload work and professionals would translate from there — it wouldn’t have to be him all the time. He continued to grow the business through high school and college until choosing later to exit the business. That entrepreneurial experience allowed him to pay for classes and gave him the opportunity to gain knowledge about startups, which he used in the future to grow Sevelyn.
Sevelyn is the startup that has Arguello’s full focus now. It is a platform that connects Latinos with professionals who understand their culture, values and needs. The business devotes itself to many methods of treatment for stress, anxiety and more. While many platforms stick to psychology, Sevelyn focuses on letting the client choose the journey. They can speak with a psychologist or talk to a social worker or other professional.
Arguello’s journey of getting Sevelyn off the ground started in late 2020 at the venture school at the University of Iowa. In 2021, the business was accepted into both the Iowa Startup Accelerator and Iowa Techstars Iowa accelerator, where Arguello fine-tuned the business and received funding. Now, he is focusing on traction and getting users and providers onto the platform, while also expanding into new markets where companies are looking to bring mental wellness into their benefit offerings for their employees.
Sevelyn Benefits to the Latino Community
The Latino culture has its prejudices and stigmas around what mental illness is. If you add a few more complexities, including the variety within the Latino culture (more than 30 countries, many ways of speaking Spanish, etc.), it makes education even more important. Mental wellness opportunities created from the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed more open dialogue, especially in the Latino community. People are more likely to discuss mental wellness in a public forum and make it a priority.
Sevelyn shows B2B clients that employees are demanding these services and explains how it makes financial sense for them to implement mental wellness programs. Arguello said that 60% of all absences that happen in a company are tied to mental wellness issues. In terms of productivity, that is a huge amount of money that affects your bottom line. A business simply cannot ignore mental wellness. On the B2C side, potential users can speak with a professional during an initial free session to determine what their mental health journey with Sevelyn might look like.
Learn more about Sevelyn here.
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