George Taktak is our NEF+ Class of 2021 alum and the Founder and CEO of How Mental – a mental support platform that reaches 14 million people monthly. In 2022, How Mental launched an app aiming to revolutionize the way people analyze their emotions.


The conversation that started it all

Five years into working in the mental health sector and developing technology to further it, George had a life-changing conversation with a friend: “they came up to me and said, ‘George, I know you work in mental health. I’m really depressed and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go or what I need.’ And it just struck me that because I had worked in it for so long, I had a very privileged perspective of the mental health sector and how to access it.”

It was that experience that drove George to launch How Mental in 2016 – a way for everyone to find the right support for their mind. Bringing together tools, knowledge, community and personalisation, it gives anyone an overview of the mental health sector so they can find the right support for their mind.


The life-changing conversation

Today, the How Mental community can tap into its three main touchpoints: its Instagram community (with close to 1 million followers), its website (it hosts events, its blog, and a list of tools & resources) and its new flagship app, How Are We. 

Launched in 2022, the app allows anyone to do daily personal check-ins by easily describing how they are feeling on a sliding scale and translating that into a score – before viewing the world’s average feeling, “like a weather report but for our wellbeing”. Allowing members to reflect and analyze their feelings, George sees this as an entryway for How Mental to build better recommendations and tools to support their community.


Tapping into NEF+ midway through Covid

In the early years of How Mental, George joined the NEF+ programme hoping to receive a less “academic and more practical” introduction to entrepreneurship. His cohort’s experience ended up coinciding with the first wave of Covid-19: “if you’re starting something new and you’re trying to change the world, that’s already a really difficult starting point. If you don’t have anyone around you, that’s even tougher… the NEF+ community was really there for me and it was really vital.”

Despite most of his experience being online, George recalls the value that NEF+ brought to his journey, allowing him to take a step back to reflect and map out his long-term goals.


“Before NEF+, I wanted to do more than I could handle. I wanted to do everything. But I learnt that if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you need to be able to sustain yourself. I learnt how to make friends with reality and strategize my approach.”



Scaling support through tech

At present-day How Mental, over 14 million people interact with the brand every month – creating network effects for its global impact, so much so that a grateful follower recently got a tattoo of the How Mental logo. George also recently had the opportunity to pitch the venture to TED’s CEO, Chris Anderson, who later rose to give George a standing ovation.

For George, these are motivators of How Mental’s even greater, potential impact. With the flagship app now allowing anyone to rate how they feel, he’s been working on introducing his recently-patented technology to the app.



Strung together like a language, the technology leverages haptic feedback to create vibrations that communicate different emotions. “You’ll be able to feel your emotions and others’ through your phone without saying a single word.” In another use case, people will also be able to exchange ‘touch’ through devices. “To share a hug, kiss or high 5 from anywhere in the world using vibratory feedback. We’ll also be adding audio effects to create an immersive experience.”

Bridging these innovative approaches together with strong data, George aims to integrate this into everyday life. “Our vision is to have the Daily Wellbeing Report on the news, to track how the planet is really feeling and for our well-being to replace GDP as a measure for social progress. Creating these simple, accessible, tangible touchpoints for our wellbeing is the best way to knock down even more barriers and allow people to take action for their mental health.” 


Learn more about the NEF+ programme here