By Riley Kaminer
Daniela Sichel is on a mission to help people get their mental health in check.
For more than 20 years, Sichel has been a practicing psychologist. But in 2019, Sichel realized that she wanted to scale her impact. She teamed up with fellow psychologist Mariana Morales to build Opción Yo, a digital platform for mental health counseling.
Since then, the platform has provided services to more than 72,000 people in 69 countries.
Opción has now reached a new milestone, having been acquired by Miami-based serial entrepreneur Abi Mandelbaum.
“Our goal has always been to not only help individuals with their wellness and mental health, but also to empower them to reach their dreams, and that takes both a disciplined approach as well as a team of highly-qualified specialists working together,” said Sichel [pictured above], who co-founded the company with Mariana Morales. “When you work with Opcion Yo, you get a fully dedicated team of experts.”
Sichel continued: “After meeting Abi and developing a relationship, we immediately knew that given his passion and alignment with our mission, and his experience as a successful entrepreneur, he would help us take Opción Yo to new heights.”
Mandelbaum’s most recent exit was virtual tour platform YouVisit, which he sold to Vista Equity Partners in 2019. Mandelbaum was selected to join the global Endeavor network in 2017 and is an Endeavor Miami mentor and board member. Opción Yo participated in EndeavorLAB, one of Endeavor Miami’s accelerator programs, in 2021.
“My professional relationship with Daniela and Mariana grew over time after becoming an advisor for Opción Yo through the Endeavor Miami programs,” said Mandelbaum. “When they approached me about expanding my involvement with the company and becoming its primary investor, it was very natural for me to say: absolutely!”
“My personal mission of empowering individuals to lead more authentic and fulfilling lives is completely aligned with Opcion Yo’s mission,” Mandelbaum continued. “I was also greatly impressed with both the executive team and the company’s growth.”
Mandelbaum assumes the roles of President and Chairman of Opción Yo. Sichel and Morales will remain as CEO and COO, respectively. Endeavor Miami Managing Director Claudia Duran said the news speaks to Endeavor’s ability to make synergistic connections and its give-back culture. “This is a testament to the Endeavor network’s multiplier effect.”
Opción Yo has built a network of more than 2,000 registered specialists located in 35 countries. These specialists include therapists, life coaches, nutritionists, fitness coaches, and wellness consultants.
“Our mission is to give affordable therapy with trusted psychologists, coaches, and nutritionists to the Hispanic community globally,” explained Sichel, in an earlier interview with Refresh Miami. Users can purchase one-on-one sessions as well as group sessions, which are structured around a particular topic such as grieving.
All the therapists on the platform have a minimum of five years of experience and are regularly supervised. “The quality of service that we are giving is excellent, and we’re very proud of that,” asserted Sichel.
Launching the startup right before the global pandemic turned out to be excellent timing for Opción Yo, since people were at home and more in need of counseling than ever before. But Sichel expects virtual sessions to remain popular in a post-pandemic world.
“[The online format] makes you more open in the session because you’re working with someone that you believe is an expert in what you need, rather than going to a place that is comfortable because it’s near your house or near your work,” explained Sichel.
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