In this episode, Joe and Kyle interview CEO & Co-founder of Nue Life, Juan Pablo Cappello, from his home in Miami during the Wonderland conference.
Cappello first talks about growing up in Chile and provides some history; covering how peyote became religious and how Catholicism spread through the Americas like a franchise system. And he talks about his family’s relationship with San Pedro, his entrepreneurial past (starting the first online bank in Latin America), and how selling that company for $700 million felt like an abject failure.
He discusses how the idea of depression and PTSD being symptoms of an unaddressed root cause led to the creation of Nue Life, and what he wants to do with what he considers a primarily data-based company: use the massive amounts of data connected devices are already harvesting from us (digital phenotyping) for our benefit rather than our detriment. He believes most medical models focus primarily on the continued income from maintenance medications like antidepressants, and instead, A.I. could use this data to recognize patterns in behavior and make recommendations based on each user’s specific data points – a sort of health ecosystem attuned to what works best for each person.
While he’s very excited about the progress so far (data from 2k people, Nue Life being licensed in five states with five more coming soon), he also talks about his concerns with the current psychedelic gold rush: how Big Pharma is pushing pioneers in the space into restrictive models, and why we will soon see a flame-out of many of these emerging highly-appraised companies.
“At the height of the drug war under Clinton, we had 2.2 million people going to jail for drug crimes. This year, it’ll be 2.1 million. So we still have huge, huge numbers of people being incarcerated and going to jail, and for me, that’s because of the way we’ve managed the cannabis industry. And I really, especially at a conference like this where it becomes about the money (not about the impact); I’m very, very concerned that we’re going to find ourselves missing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress. And real progress really begins with decriminalizing these amazing substances.”
“We’re not a psychedelics-focused company. We’re a mental wellness-focused company that’s going to use whatever technologies are available to drive these extraordinary patient outcomes.”
“How can we, rather than having our phones be a source of body dysmorphia and negativity and a place I feel compelled to go to but it ultimately is bringing me down – how can we turn that technology around and have it be something that helps elevate our patients? …We’re constantly giving out [data] but that data can be used, like a lot of tools, for good as well as for bad, and we’re in a position where we’re really saying: let us be one of the first companies that’s going to use this data for good.”
About Juan Pablo Cappello
Juan Pablo Cappello is a passionate entrepreneur who believes in the power of technology and innovation to address humanity’s biggest challenges — mental wellness being one of them. In his home country of Chile, Juan Pablo has seen both the trauma caused by years of a military dictatorship and the power of psychedelic therapies to heal that trauma. As Nue Life‘s CEO & Co-founder, Juan Pablo measures the company’s success by how many lives Nue Life positively impacts.
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