Today's Entrepreneur: Helena Plater-Zyberk

Kristin Karaoglu · October 15, 2018 · Short URL:

Nothing will ever being given to you; Everything is earned

Today's entrepreneur is Helena Plater-Zyberk. Helena is Co-Founder of Supportiv, a jaw-droppingly affordable mental wellness solution featuring hyper-targeted digital peer support with live moderation, and real-time recommendations and referrals to the wider digital health ecosystem.

The company recently presented at SplashX Invent Health: Mental and Behaviral Health event in June 2018. See Helena's presentation here

We also featured Supportiv in our new series Startup Teams: Best practices.

Prior to founding Supportiv, Helena was the CEO of SimpleTherapy, who lead the AI-driven digital health company (musculoskeletal) from pre-product through to its first $5MM in commercial contracting revenue from five Fortune 50 clients including Aetna and Humana. In 2016, she won first place in the Swiss Re Foundation's global "Entrepreneurs for Resilience" competition. 

Previously, she was Executive Director for Scholastic's $500MM EdTech and services division, a division of 400+ sales, marketing, product, and implementation employees. There she managed the post-acquisition integration of two entities and launched a half-dozen D2C and B2B2C edtech products.

Prior to that, Helena was Director of Strategy and Consumer Insights at CondéNast, the media behemoth that publishes over 20 name brands including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, andWired. There she won the Marketer of the Year award.

She is also a former Rotary Scholar who has worked, studied, and traveled to over 60 countries. Specifically, Helena has worked in Berlin, Paris, London, Warsaw, Vienna, Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Ghana, Washington DC, New York, and now the Bay Area. During her travels, she’s hiked Everest Base Camp (17,600 ft) and Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft).

Helena holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA in International Relations and Economics from American University. She is also an independent Board Member of the Austin, TX-based legal software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Liquid Litigation Management.

Here is more about Helena.

I am a(n): Entrepreneur

Companies I've founded or co-founded: Supportiv

Companies I work or worked for: Conde Nast, Scholastic, SimpleTherapy

Achievements (products built, personal awards won): 

Winner, 1st Prize, Swiss Re Foundation, Global "Entrepreneurs for Resilience" Award (2016) 

Winner, Largest Grant, Tamer Fund for Social Ventures Grant (2018)

If you are an entrepreneur, why? Serendipitously fell into it...

My favorite startups: Airbnb, Lyft, Venmo, Breather, ParkWhiz

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation? 

That every single day you are faced with an obstacle you’ve never encountered before or a challenge you didn’t fathom or prepare for… and that you’ll revel in the adventure of it all!

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

There are millions of *seemingly* great business ideas, but only a few gain real traction with customers. Insufficiently measuring customer need is a common mistake. Have you talked to a wide cross-section of the people to whom you intend to sell? What are they not satisfied with from the existing alternatives? How will you deliver your unique solution in a format and at a price point that will make sense to them?

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. When you’re in a productivity burst, there is no such thing as work-life balance. Personally, I apologize to friends and family, crank my sleep schedule down to the bare minimum, buckle in for the grind, and don’t even try to carve out downtime.

2. The flip side of that is the MUST of self-care. For every period of productivity burst, there’s got to be a purposeful recuperation period. Trying to emulate Elon Musk is a dangerous game, with serious consequences.

3. Nothing will ever be given to you. Everything is earned.

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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Joined Vator on

If you need something to perform better at your job, you ping your professional network. If you crave some fun, you tap your social network. What’s missing from our lives is what to click when you’re feeling low: a support network.

Supportiv, The Support Network, is a stigma-free and jaw-droppingly affordable place to receive 24/7 hyper-targeted peer support, plus resource recommendations and service referrals that precisely address your relationship, work, family/friend, sadness, anger, anxiety, or loneliness needs.

Our natural language processing (NLP) algorithm matches each user in under 30 seconds --based on their free-text response to the question “What’s your struggle?”-- to a topic-specific peer group chat that dynamically convenes for users with similar emotional needs.

No matter how common or obscure the response, we find the right peers who relate and want to talk about the same thing the user does — a communication breakdown in a relationship, an encounter with a toxic coworker, adulting, the loss of a pet. The matching is effortless. It happens for the user, in seconds. The specificity of the topic-based matching improves with the network effect. At any moment, dozens or thousands of groups may convene concurrently, as dictated by the volume of users, plus the similarity or differences among users’ needs.

Each group has a “super-powered” human moderator. Our NLP enables the moderator to drop precisely relevant resources, recommendations, and referrals right into the group conversation in real-time. Our ever-expanding knowledge base will vet, catalog, and precision-match the world’s most recommended tactics, resources, and inspirations. Humans helping humans with an AI & NLP-powered boost that makes global scalability a non-issue.

If you need to search something, you go to Google. If you want to broadcast to friends & family, you go to Facebook or Instagram. If you need support with daily life struggles, you’ll come to Supportiv.



Helena Plater-Zyberk

Joined Vator on

Helena Plater-Zyberk is Co-Founder of Supportiv, a jaw-droppingly affordable mental wellness solution featuring hyper-targeted digital peer support with live moderation & real-time recommendations and referrals to the wider digital health ecosystem.