Shimmer’s ADHD Coaching Platform Helps Users’ Talents Shine

Instead of trying to remedy ADHD, the startup focuses on how this trait can help people excel in various areas of their lives.

Written by Ashley Bowden
Published on Mar. 01, 2023
Shimmer’s ADHD Coaching Platform Helps Users’ Talents Shine
Shimmer co-founders Vikram Sreedhar and Christal Wang are pictured together in an outdoor setting.
Shimmer co-founders include CTO Vikram Sreedhar (left) and CEO Christal Wang (right). | Photo: Shimmer

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming tech companies, Built In launched The Future 5 across seven major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five early-stage tech companies, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who might just be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of San Francisco’s rising startups from last quarter here.

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From having trouble staying organized or remembering to drink enough water, individuals with ADHD can often experience challenges in a world that isn’t oriented for them. Rather than viewing increased energy, curiosity and creativity as setbacks, Shimmer helps those with ADHD embrace their unique attributes and thrive.

Using a strength-based methodology, Shimmer offers coaching tracks that help its users build skills, routines and systems. Its network of about 15 coaches works to provide users with personalized guidance and support as well as hold them accountable for achieving their goals. For instance, a Shimmer coach can help someone implement a deep working system that helps them stay focused or help someone employ tactics to remember names better.

“The most important part for us, which makes us a lot different than a lot of ADHD apps out there, is that there is actually a human being on the other end that has a personal relationship with you,” Christal Wang, Shimmer’s co-founder and CEO, told Built In. “So that helps people actually stick to [their goals and tasks].” 

Individuals with ADHD had a particularly turbulent experience over the course of the pandemic, and the need for a solution like Shimmer grew more apparent. Wang was diagnosed with ADHD during this period and had trouble finding a suitable solution for the issues she faced.

“I was still a victim of stigma of medication and I didn’t want to take medication at the time. And I found that everything that was out there seemed either unregulated and not [of] great quality or it was super expensive,” Wang told Built In. “I ended up doing 10 to 20 different consultations with different coaches and different therapists and wasn’t able to pull the trigger on any of them either because it wasn’t a good fit or because it was too expensive.”

Eventually, Wang set out to interview people with ADHD, doctors and coaches to affirm her experience and get a feel for what the ADHD community collectively needed. She and her co-founder Vikram Sreedhar, who also serves as Shimmer’s CTO, later teamed up with psychologists, a clinical advisor and an ADHD coach to create the infrastructure for Shimmer.

When I started Shimmer, I wanted to start something that did something good that filled a gap that nobody else was [filling].”

Shimmer’s platform was designed to be intuitive for ADHD users, from seamless sign-in to increased app navigability. Users sign up for Shimmer and get matched with a coach. Within the app, users work alongside their coach to create task lists. Upon completing a task and checking it off on the app, their coach is notified. If a task isn’t completed, the coach can reach out to a user directly and chat with them about it.

“Most things that are out there for ADHD are always focused on fixing deficiencies and fixing things that are wrong with you,” Wang said. “And that’s why we love coaching because it’s not just about that; it’s about reaching your goals. And people with ADHD have certain things that they’re also great at.”

While Shimmer does offer help to improve ADHD symptoms, the company’s focus on identifying strong suits is a huge driving factor behind its quick adoption.

The platform launched in October and has since served hundreds of members, according to Wang. Since the company isn’t a therapy platform, Shimmer isn’t bound by state regulations and has a widespread user base. The majority of members are in the U.S. and Canada, though it also serves people in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Southeast Asia, according to Shimmer.

“When I started Shimmer, I wanted to start something that did something good that filled a gap that nobody else was [filling],” Wang said. “Being able to serve people who haven’t been served and haven’t been focused on, and to be able to create something that reaches those pockets of people in a new way, that’s what I’m most excited about.”

As the company expands, Shimmer will continue building out its product with user feedback in mind. It plans to grow the number of members and coaches on its platform and implement new member-suggested features that’ll make the platform easier to use in the near future. For instance, Shimmer plans to incorporate behavioral science principles like gamification to motivate and reward members.

Down the line, Shimmer wants to expand its reach into other neurodiverse populations such as those with autism. Furthermore, it wants to increase education for people outside of the neurodiverse realm to help them create a more welcoming world for those in the neurodiverse community, Wang said. Shimmer currently offers bite-sized educational content for members. It has additional content partnerships in the works with ADHD organizations to facilitate webinars and similar public outlets.

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