Writer: Dinah Wisenberg Brin Published: June 30, 2018
Two-and-a-half years after founding mindfulness startup WalkMyMind, CEO Diana Liberto recently sold a majority stake in her Philadelphia company to GlobalFit, a wellness technology firm that will help bring the platform to employers.
The milestone, notable for any founder, follows Liberto’s unconventional path into startup entrepreneurship – a journey originating in personal diffculty.
The self-described New Jersey farmer’s daughter had cultivated a successful law career, clerking for a federal judge in the early ‘90s, then joining a law firm and eventually working for more than a decade in Walmart’s general counsel office.
“Initially, I have to say that I had no intention of starting my own company. I was working as an attorney when a series of tragedies struck my family in quick succession. Trying to cope with these losses became so difficult and overwhelming and I developed PTSD,” Liberto explains.
“It became so bad that aside from working, I literally could not move from my couch. After about a year of feeling this way, I realized that I couldn’t move forward on my own and decided to call a trainer to try to motivate me and at least push me to go for a walk,” says Liberto.
“During this process, I started thinking about all of the others who were in the same boat as I — and for whatever reason — were unable to get off the couch. This is when inspiration struck, and I conceived of WalkMyMind. That was three years ago.”
Founded in October 2015, WalkMyMind, through its mobile app, encourages “walking, learning, listening and community.” The holistic approach “connects the dots of physical, mental and emotional health” with podcasts, or “walkcasts,” on a range of topics meant to motivate users, the firm says.
“In addition to recognizing the benefits of increased physical activity on their employees’ overall health, our GlobalFit clients are noticing a distinct parallel between mindfulness and job performance,” GlobalFit President and CEO Tony Frick said in the April investment announcement, which didn’t include financial details.
“It is a natural progression for GlobalFit to expand into the mindfulness space, and we have found the ideal partner in WalkMyMind. Diana is revolutionizing the wellbeing of the corporate world, and employers are adopting her solution because they are seeing tangible results with WalkMyMind,” Frick said.
While Liberto came up with the idea, she had to look elsewhere for help in developing the product.
“I do not have a technical background but hired an experienced business consultant and talented developer to create WalkMyMind,” says Liberto, who hadn’t previously launched a new business venture. “I had absolutely zero background. The idea was sprung from adversity and a desire to help others.”
The company raised funds through friends and family before partnering with Philadelphia-based GlobalFit. Under a shared-services partnership, GlobalFit will provide sales, marketing, accounting and customer support services, says Liberto.
“I was actively looking for appropriate investors and/or partnerships and was introduced to the people at GlobalFit. We share very similar goals that aim to benefit others, and since GlobalFit set out to expand into the mindfulness space, the partnership seemed to be the perfect fit,” she says. “Our programs have a likeminded approach to wellness and achieve the same overarching goal of increasing mental and physical engagement.”
Liberto, who continues to lead WalkMyMind, doesn’t rule out founding more ventures. “Will I start new companies? Possibly,” she says. “My mind is always churning.”