Hey Everyone - Dez here from All Things Venture. How are you doing? No, seriously how are you doing? It’s a question that gets asked multiple times a day, and normally it elicits a bland, banal answer. I’m GOOD! I’m fine! I’m doing great! The question gets asked all the time, but more often than not we never give a true answer, a real answer. Which, on the balance, is probably okay. That being said, what I personally believe is important, now more than ever, - is to give yourself (and the people you care about) time to truly answer and appreciate that question. Give yourself the space to say, “I’m not okay. My life feels like it’s in shambles, and I don’t have the support I need.” or, “ I’m doing fantastic. I’m healthy, I’m thriving, I feel connected - things are good.” Life isn’t meant to be consistent highs or consistent lows, it’s somewhere in the middle and being mindful about that reality, can go a long way.
Mindfulness, meditation, wellness they’re all concepts that are more prevalent in today’s society, compared to years past and truthfully I think we could all use a little extra help when it comes to practicing these ways of living. Which brings us to today’s company - Dreamfully. Dreamfully is a digital wellness app founded by Matt Riback, and I recently had the opportunity to chat with Matt about his vision for Dreamfully, the misconceptions he sees about meditation, and what he views as the future of meditation. Let’s dive right in.
All Things Venture: What is Dreamfully?
Matt: Dreamfully is a digital wellness app that helps you manage your stress/anxiety and feel better through visually-guided mindfulness aids. We cater to the 150M+ Americans who struggle with stress/anxiety and are also visual learners.
All Things Venture: What led you to build Dreamfully?
Matt: Meditation became a core aspect of my life from the day I first tried it. Meditation is sacred and personal to me; I never thought I would do anything professional with it (why associate it with stress?!). That began to change when I got involved in the startup scene and saw other ventures based around meditation (some I found cool, some I found inauthentic). I knew that I had a vision of what this could look like-- the desire to take meditation and start to share it in a personal, unique way-- and if I didn’t pursue it my way, then it would be lost.
All Things Venture: Who do you believe Dreamfully is best positioned for?
Matt: I am trying to figure that out every day! Something like: an individual who is sensitive, someone who goes to therapy, who wants to use mindfulness tools but doesn’t love Headspace or Calm, someone who loves Miyazaki’s films (or likes the magical feel of video games), and someone who struggles to take enough deep breaths during the day (even though they know they should!). In one sentence though, Dreamfully is for someone who is sensitive, who cares about their headspace, but struggles to adopt mindfulness practices despite apps like Headspace/Calm.
All Things Venture: What are some of the challenges that you face at the current stage for Dreamfully?
Matt: The hardest challenge has always been figuring out what to start building first, even if it’s not a perfect solution. Other answer: fundraising is not easy.
All Things Venture: What defines success for Dreamfully over the next few months?
Matt: Great question! Right now, success for Dreamfully over the next few months involves releasing V1 of our mobile app-- a customizable, responsive, visually-guided breathing tool accessible in one click. The team has grown over the past two months and we are now in a position to execute. From there, it’s making sure we respond to our early adopters, understand the impact, and keep moving.
All Things Venture: What is your long term vision and aspiration for Dreamfully?
Matt: I have a massive vision for building the “next iteration of applied mindfulness”, and showing through countless creative mediums how mindfulness/meditation can subtly be interwoven with our daily life- making mindfulness visual is just one piece of this. The long term vision is to drive the adoption of meditation (or “meditation principles”) in so many parts of our life-- from work to play to healthcare and more-- that could use it. And along the way to build a community of mindful-ish humans who recognize and care for one another. We’re starting with an app.
All Things Venture: What's something you want all of our readers to know about meditation, generally?
Matt: So many things! These are great questions! I’ll talk about one quick criticism I have with general perceptions of mindfulness/meditation from my own experience. So many people associate meditation with being passive, with being “chill”, with finding a perennial state of “calm and bliss.” That is such a limiting, oftentimes-distorting view of what this practice actually entails and produces. (My Mom used to chide me, saying “for someone who practices meditation so much you really aren’t that calm, Matthew.” whenever I was upset! That pissed me off so much- haha!) Meditation is often referred to as the “art of living in the present,” and its purpose is to enrich life, to deepen and bolden the relationship we have with ourselves, others, and the world around us. To spark creativity, inspiration, passion, and movement as much as stillness. I think if people can accept that meditation is very emotional, and that that’s okay, then we can understand its benefits more robustly (and maybe then we won’t feel like we “can’t do it” as much).
All Things Venture: What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneur?
Matt: My God. I’m not in a position to give such advice yet! I would say to believe in yourself more than anybody else’s opinions. The best stories always involve true individualization- doing things differently. It’s also understood that in the early stages of building a company, it’s the founder who makes the difference (not the business plan)- i.e. you invest in the founder, not the company. Even through various funding stages. So- if all that’s true, then remember to give yourself the utmost respect that you deserve and try not to second-guess yourself. There’s a delicate balance between believing in yourself wholly but also recognizing you know nothing and learning from experience. Somewhere in there is your journey.
If you’d like to join Dreamfully as a beta tester use the referral code: article10 here!