Mark speaks with Dylan Beynon, CEO and founder of Mindbloom, about ketamine therapy vs. mainstream therapies, his own experience with psychedelics, and what the future of psychedelic therapy looks like.
Today, Commander Divine speaks with Dylan Beynon, founder and CEO of Mindbloom, a new telemedicine company for clinician-prescribed psychedelic therapy. Dylan has been named a Top 25 Consumer Health Tech Executive, and is one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Psychedelics. Dylan shares his thoughts on the future of psychedelics, how his upbringing inspired him to found Mindbloom, the benefits of ketamine therapy vs. mainstream therapies, and more.
Mark Divine 1:05
Coming up on the mark Divine show,
Dylan Beynon 1:07
I get asked all the time, like, what is the best mental health and well being practice or treatments. And my response is like deciding that you’re going to take 100% responsibility for your own mental health and well-being as a 100% non negotiable top priority.
Mark Divine 1:27
Welcome to the mark Divine Show. I’m your host, Mark Divine. In this show, I discover, dive deep and discuss just what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders so courageous. I talk in depth to people from all walks of life, from martial arts grandmasters, meditative monks, CEOs, military leaders, Stoic philosophers, entrepreneurs, proud survivors, Navy SEALs, all sorts of folks. And in each episode, I get deep into what makes them tick, and turn their experiences into actionable insights for us so that we can learn, grow and follow them to lead a life similarly filled with compassion, and courage.
I’m super excited. For today’s episode, I’ve got Dylan Beynon, founder and CEO of Mindbloom, a new telemedicine company for clinician prescribed psychedelic therapy. I knew it was coming sooner or later, but it’s out there. Dylan’s on a mission to help others expand their human potential by bringing new hope to the millions of Americans battling depression and anxiety. Dylan’s been named Top 25 Consumer Health Tech executive, one of the top 100 Most Influential People in psychedelics. I didn’t know that was a thing, but good job there. He’s been featured in Forbes, Vogue, Business Insider, Women’s Health, and he’s a serial entrepreneur. His first company is called Mighty, a civil justice company helping injured people get a better deal from the justice system. And a company called Voter’s Friend, which was acquired by democracy.com. Mindbloom has already delivered 100,000 psychedelic therapy sessions a year and has attracted support from top VCs like Peter Thiel, Founders Fund and 8VC. Dillon, thanks for joining me today. How are you?
Dylan Beynon 3:11
I’m spectacular. How are you, Mark?
Mark Divine 3:12
Well, I am spectacular too. I don’t usually use that term. But I like that. So we’ll go with that, spectacular. So where are you right now? Where do you live?
Dylan Beynon 3:20
I just moved to Austin, Texas a year ago after 10 years in Manhattan. Whoo. That’s a Texan now. Yeah.
Mark Divine 3:27
He ha. Are you roping yet?
Dylan Beynon 3:29
I got my first pair of cowboy boots. So I’m on the way. Yeah, I think next is the hat or the gun. And we’re trying to fill out the order of operations there.
Mark Divine 3:38
You need a hat in order to shoot a gun properly in Texas.
Dylan Beynon 3:41
But then when you’re shooting it up in the air. What do you do about the holes in the hat?
Mark Divine 3:47
Well, that’s one of the first lessons is how not to blow your hat off your head. So let me know when you master that. You know, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have moved down to Austin. What is it for you?
Dylan Beynon 3:59
It’s the energy. I love New York. It’s an intellectual and cultural Mecca. People come from all over the world to do the biggest baddest things that they can there. And I think it’s still an incredible city. But I think Austin is that city of the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years. I have friends moving from San Francisco, New York, LA every few weeks or a month. No kidding. And the biggest driver for my wife is actually our head of engineering at the company I work at, we moved down to Austin to build like a co living community. So try to live as tribal, as close as we could to as many friends as possible. And so we picked a neighborhood here, right outside the city in Austin, we’ve got like eight to 10 families who have already moved in, with more coming all the time, to try to build a little bit more of a community style living.
Mark Divine 4:42
So what does that look like to you that would be different than say, what you’ve experienced in Manhattan, this co-living idea, you share resources for education, you know, things like that, or what does it look like?
Dylan Beynon 4:52
Yeah, I think child care and education are two of the big ones. So one is having some open door policies where you bug people and kids are able to sort of come in and out of each other’s homes and have a little bit more of intermingling. Two is a strong desire not to send children to legacy school systems
Mark Divine 5:10
Indoctrination school, you mean?
Dylan Beynon 5:13
Totally, I mean, a lot of our education system is like ported over from pressure. Right? Right. And so it’s maladapted to today’s world, taught to help people stay in line, be on time, shut up, do what you’re told, and sort of reduces curiosity and lateral thinking.
Mark Divine 5:28
Yeah, it’s conformist. Tuck everybody in to be a good little citizen.
Dylan Beynon 5:33
We’re like innately toolmakers, right? We’re curious as primates and somehow school seems to beat the curiosity out of people. It’s almost like, designed to make you not want to learn. It’s fascinating.
Mark Divine 5:45
Co living like that. It’s not like a commune.
Dylan Beynon 5:48
It’s an anti-commune commune.
Mark Divine 5:50
It’s an anti-commune, right? I love this age we’re in where we get to redefine some age-old stuck ideas. What does it mean to live together? So In a spirit of harmony sharing resources, well, that doesn’t have to look like communism or socialism. It’s co living, right, we can all still really adhere to the ideas of advancing our own creative and entrepreneurial pursuits, but share things that are worth sharing. And the gift economy and the sharing economy allow us to do that. Now technology has really flattened the playing field for everybody.
Dylan Beynon 6:21
There’s a quote from this thinker and writer I follow, Nassim Nicholas Taleb if you’re familiar, yeah, absolutely. That’s like, with my family I want to be communist. Yeah, with my friends I want to be socialists, right. With my state I want to be a Federalist and with my country, I want to be an anarchist, something like that, I’m paraphrasing. Yeah,
Mark Divine 6:41
Yeah, Libertarian, I think at the federal level. Now, I think that makes a lot of sense. One size doesn’t fit all for different sized communities. And I think that’s another lesson that’s been lost a little bit. Give us a sense of your background. You know, what were the formative forces that shaped you as a young guy, and, you know, what made you who you are?
Dylan Beynon 6:59
I mean, I think growing up, I was consistently told that I came from a bit of an anomalous background. I grew up in a working class family in Southern California, in Anaheim, California, or as we call it, Anna crime.
Mark Divine 7:14
Well, that’s where Disney World or Disneyland?
Dylan Beynon 7:17
Well, one of the benefits of living in Anaheim is we’re like a 10 minute walk from Disneyland. So I could see the fireworks every single night, which had its pluses and minuses, right? Go to bed before like, you know, eight or 9pm if you wanted to. And it also ruins fireworks for you for the rest of your life, if you’re a child seeing one of the best fire displays in the world every night. But I grew up in a family I was like riddled with mental health issues. So multiple family members have suffered. But my mother was severely mentally ill. She suffered from schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a lot of different substance abuse disorders, in and out of rehab. Ultimately, we weren’t able to help her and she spent about 15 years homeless before recently dying of a fentanyl overdose.
Mark Divine 8:03
Good God. Sorry to hear that.
Dylan Beynon 8:04
I appreciate that. I’m a big believer that things don’t happen to you. They happen for you. Yeah, so her life was utterly tragic. And it was incredibly turbulent on our family. And is a big reason why I’m building Mindbloom and working in mental health and well-being.
Mark Divine 8:19
Just seems to me it must have made you feel really desperate that you couldn’t help your mom. Because there’s this urge to like, really want to help your parents, if they’re struggling with something for a lot of people, probably not anybody, but it’s part of our filial duty. And if you actually can’t help someone, because mentally, they’re just not capable of receiving help, that’s got to be a challenge.
Dylan Beynon 8:38
I’ve had that frustration. And a lot of members of my family, part of my journey, and why psychedelics have been so big for me is that I was much angrier than that. So I hated my mother. She’s a little Jewish woman, but it was like violence, abusive, and just very turbulent. So I was raised by my adoptive stepfather, who’s my hero, like, absolutely saved my life. And I had a very happy childhood, for sports and school and friendships and like a lot of love from him. Right, so much resentment towards her for so long for ruining our family. And it wasn’t until maybe I got a little further on my own psychological or spiritual or ontological path, and started realizing, in retrospect, being angry with her was ridiculous, because she’s just very, very, very, very sick, and obviously had no ability to help herself. And we didn’t have an ability to help her. And that’s actually just truly tragic.
Mark Divine 9:36
So this adopted father you had, you know, what was the story with him? And how did he help shape you?
Dylan Beynon 9:42
I never met my biological father, sort of out of the picture birth, and my adoptive stepfather, Greg, he met my mother, about when I was one year old. And at the time, he was a party guy, very social, very gregarious, didn’t think he’d want to settle down. What he would say is that addition to you fall in love with my mom, who had a lot of the cracks of mental health issues at the time, but had it more together, like really fell in love with me and decided he wanted to become a father. He’s a letter carrier, a mailman now as a city bus driver in Southern California, so we’re very much like a working class family. And he just made his number one non negotiable top priority was to be the best parent possible to me and my half sister, that’s his daughter. So growing up, I was very into school and I’m a nerd. But we just had this incredible relationship where he just really showered me with love and support. And a lot of his love and social intelligence to draw upon. He’s magnetic in terms of how people are drawn to him. I think for me, gave me a really strong sense of like, honor and duty, seeing this man who is taking up the mantle of both parents. He came to every one of my football practices, he cooked dinner, he’d go to work, he’d take care of me, my sister and my mother. And that’s just very inspirational for me to see somebody take on that level of duty and provide that much love and support and take on like that much of a burden, to take care of a whole family in a really tough situation.
Mark Divine 11:16
I think that’s fascinating, where one member of the parental side of the equation was incapable, provided the doubly capable person on the other side to balance things out. That often happens that way. You know, it’s fascinating to me.
Dylan Beynon 11:29
I think I’m the luckiest person in life. Right? Like, how many alternate universes Do I not have this incredible, loving, supportive, stable father figure in my life? And it’s just me and a very mentally ill parent?
Mark Divine 11:44
What was your educational background? Where do you go to school? And what do you study? And what was the formative academic kind of philosopher? How did that develop in you?
Dylan Beynon 11:51
I think I was just very, very driven to get out, like get out of a turbulent home. So I was just a relentless animal in high school. Was valedictorian of my high school. Yeah, the highest at the time, the highest GPA in Orange County history. I would say like five hours a night, wake up, take extra classes, create classes, just to boost my GPA. Cognitive Science Olympiad team, academic decathlon, played football competitively, and also a track and field.
Mark Divine 12:19
What school do you go to up there?
Dylan Beynon 12:20
I went to elementary in high school in Southern California. It’s the 3,680/3 ranked public school on US News. I interviewed somebody recently who on his LinkedIn had like saludatorian at the number one ranked us public school on your news. I was like, what were we?
Mark Divine 12:38
That’s fascinating. Okay, so your total nerd then? Wow, do college. Obviously, I imagined you did.
Dylan Beynon 12:44
Yeah, I’m the first person I finally got to college by a mile. I had a full scholarship to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the same scholarship Elon Musk got, like years and years ago. And so for me, like academics have always been a huge success. My challenge was, I think I was very, very emotionally maybe psychologically stunted. I had like, so much anger growing up, I’d get in fights, I’d have like some friends. And I was very tribal. But I did not like people, they didn’t like me. And I viewed the world through this lens of people are bad, dumb, like, the world is broken. I need to get mine. But I fundamentally had a very negative relationship with it.
Mark Divine 13:26
Right? That’s not uncommon. When you grow up with that turbulence. And you’re, you know, a highly intelligent person, did you use any alcohol or drugs to try to balance out any of that emotional turmoil?
Dylan Beynon 13:36
I drank a lot in college, but nothing that felt different than the average, I was in a fraternity and drank a few nights a week, right? Quite heavily, but thought that was completely okay. I actually wouldn’t touch any illegal or illicit drugs, because I grew up with the addict in my home for a long time. So the idea of taking an illegal drug as I was, at the time, ignorant to right, the reality of drug harm scales, and which drugs are actually harmful to yourself and others that drink four or five nights a week, but everything else is off limits.
Mark Divine 14:03
I know. And the crazy alcohol, which is so destructive, is perfectly fine for you. But psilocybin, which is so healthy for you is off limits.
Dylan Beynon 14:11
Oh, it’s just total status quo bias. We have this cognitive bias where whatever exists today, we think is totally normal, and how things are supposed to operate. But anything different seems radical, until that thing becomes the norm. And then it seems completely normal. And then we forget that that thing was weird and radical, immediately, we get amnesia, it’s wild.
Mark Divine 14:30
Before we get into talking about plant medicine, and Mindbloom, let’s talk about your getting into entrepreneurship. And sounds like you’re kind of a social justice entrepreneur, your first business was around voter access. And then you got into, like something to do with civil justice, right? Helping people deal with the justice system or get better service in the system. So let’s talk about that.
Dylan Beynon 14:52
I would call social justice, I would call it socially conscious. One of my viewpoints which psychedelics and plant medicine have helped me realize, is that we live in this really special time where you have the opportunity to do something that can create a global impact, that’s global in terms of reach, like geographic, global, and global in terms of like something that can propel humanity one step forward on the rung of development. And for me, I’m so lucky to be in the position of both because I’ve worked hard, but also because I’ve gotten lucky and have been given some opportunities to get to build technology that could potentially impact millions of people or push us a little bit forward. I think one of the things that the internet does for us is it enables us to democratize information and democratize access to things for people that people previously didn’t have access to. Every company I’ve done now has really been about democratizing access. My first company is called voters friend, that I co founded, was a political tech startup, helping to democratize access to election data for voters. and democratize access to engage voters for local political candidates, you could come on, enter your zip code. And for the first time ever get your full election ballot, end to end, meet candidates, they can connect with you. And we signed up something a third of every political candidate for every office in every Geo we launched in. And were one of the biggest platforms for local politics and sold that company to a company called democracy.com, which was trying to build like the big LinkedIn for politics for about a decade.
Mark Divine 16:27
Okay, interesting. Was that financially viable? I mean, was the business model there?
Dylan Beynon 16:33
No. Absolutely not. So we had this core hypothesis that if we empowered local politicians who are better to get elected, then we could from the ground floor up, improve the entire political system, sometimes reality and your theory, when they collide, you said that there’s a mismatch. And what we discovered after I went out and talked to 1000s of political candidates, not all, but most local political candidates were not going to rise up to become serious politicians. Most of them just want their face on yard signs and like, be heard and like local city council. Not all of them are, there’s some incredible people out there, but that was more of the norm. And in addition to seeing that there was no like, functional business model, because the candidates would churn in and out of the system. And there’s, there’s no way to capture a lot of revenue for the business, sort of disillusioned and I decided to move on my, my co founder kept working on it, cuz he was really passionate about it.
Mark Divine 17:27
Okay, so that led to your second venture. What was that called?
Dylan Beynon 17:32
Yeah, it’s called Mighty. It’s one of the biggest providers of software and capital to the millions of people who get injured in car accidents, construction, accidents, medical accidents, essentially, every year, there’s $250 billion of lawsuit payouts for people get hurt from GEICO, State Farm AllState, all the people you see when you’re watching football games, and the current system is just totally broken. It’s super archaic, super inefficient. There are all these parties. And it’s a total mess. And because of that, at the end of the day, these people who get injured, they get only a fraction of what they’re owed. And it takes years for them to get it, which is wild, because they’re injured, they’re out of work. And they really need it right now.
Mark Divine 18:12
The rest goes to attorneys, or where does it go?
Dylan Beynon 18:15
Attorneys, chiropractors, MRI centers, orthopedic surgeons, finance companies, who finance all those people. It’s very messy. So we built this platform that is helping those plaintiffs ultimately get better, fair, faster financial outcomes from the justice system, both with software that everybody runs their businesses and systems on, and then capital, that the company is helping to deploy into all of these people to make the system more efficient.
Mark Divine 18:45
That’s pretty interesting. And how’s that going? Is that still in business?
Dylan Beynon 18:49
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a number one provider in the space. And I actually loved building this business, it was so fun. We’re helping the 70% plus of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and can’t come up with $500 in emergency to save their lives. I told you my story, that was us. Right? We never had a huge accident. But we were always like, on that threshold. And I had neighbors who, one year, they were very poor. And they had like two medical accidents. And they were homeless after that. It’s like five kids. That’s a lot of Americans, that’s where they’re at.
Mark Divine 19:22
So walk me through how it works. Let’s say I’m listening to this. And I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I’m driving home and I’m enraptured with this podcast that I, I get an accident. But I literally the last thing I heard was Dylan say the term “Mighty” so I Google Mighty, what’s next? What happens? How can it help me?
Dylan Beynon 19:38
So the way it works, if you got rear ended, and you’re, you know, both your legs are broken, you would then sign up an attorney, who you’re going to give away a third of the case to on day one, even though they may or may not just file some paperwork. That attorney also if it ends up going to court usually won’t even be the one who litigates your case, they’re more like the advertising attorney who runs the bus stop ads and billboards. And so they’ll actually refer it out and carve that up to an attorney who actually goes to court and litigate these things, then your attorney might recommend that you go see an injury doctor. So you know, in order for you to maximize the value of your case, go see doctors that I know who know how to deal with this. And so they’ll introduce you to a chiropractor, maybe an orthopedic surgeon, imaging centers, like a whole slew of providers, who will treat you for free today, but like markup, the value of that and it will be paid out from your lawsuit. Now, then your attorney might say, Okay, if you need cash now, there are these finance companies who will give you an advance on the value of the claim that you’re going to end up getting. And they obviously mark that up, right. And so at the end, you’ve gone through this process that should have taken like a week or two, right? Like we have a robotic laboratory on Mars, but like if I rear-end you, it’s gonna take us two or three years to figure out that I owe you an amount that, like we all know from the fact that this is happening every single day and 1000s of cases. And then at the end, you’re also getting like a much smaller percentage of it, because there have been all of these people who had to be involved all along the way. So money actually supports all of those stakeholders, so supports the lawyers, the doctors, the finance companies, so that they can all be significantly more efficient and lower their cost of capital, and lower all the losses that they have to ultimately start creating a way more efficient system that can get to the plaintiff and help people get like fair and faster and better outcomes.
Mark Divine 21:28
Alright, so shifting focus, plant medicine? What was your first experience with that? Describe kind of what the effect was on you, and some of the insights and shifts.
Dylan Beynon 21:38
When I was in college, I started taking a course on positive psychology. As I started studying positive psychology, I had a little bit like an epiphany moment, which was that I wasn’t happy. I thought I had it all figured out. Right? Like, I go to this great school, I did it, I hit all my goals. But I started seeing that there’s evidence-based practices and ways to think about happiness. And then I was like, way off track, all the things I was shooting for weren’t going to make me happy. And this was proven. And as I started really investigating my day to day, saw that I had a lot of anger, strife, tension, bridges I’d burned. And I was just a pessimistic person. Right? As I had begun, like thinking about this, maybe serendipitously, I had a friend who really, really recommended that I try MDMA. That’s like 13 years ago. And as I mentioned earlier, I at the time, I was very against any illicit or hard drugs, because I grew up with an addict in my home, so horrifying to me. But I really just this person, I knew something had to change. And I gave it a go. And this reason you heard this frequently from people, it was just one of the most transformational things I’ve ever done in my entire life for myself. Didn’t happen overnight. But it rapidly catalyzed for me, an evolution of transformation from a pessimist into an optimist.
Mark Divine 23:02
With one experience or a series of experiences?
Dylan Beynon 23:05
The one got me pretty close. Like just to have an experience with MDMA, it sounds like woo-woo, but like, of like, my heart opening, feeling love and feeling deeply connected to people. Yeah. And really feeling connected to strangers. Yeah, it was so stunning, that it really pushed me meaningfully further in terms of being a positive, maybe connected person. Yeah, I’ll give an example. This is embarrassing to say, I used to have a heuristic. In my mind. I don’t even tell people about this. When I was a kid, where if I met somebody, I believed that I already didn’t like you. And you would have to, like, prove to me why you’re worthy of me liking you.
Dylan Beynon 23:47
That’s disgusting. Right?
Mark Divine 23:49
Well, it’s not uncommon by the way, Dylan, I think that comes from that staunch, individualistic ethic that is entrenched in our society has been, you know, for hundreds of years. When you are so defended like that, it takes a lot of energy, and it’s negative energy to prop that edifice up. So you’re just slowly draining your lifeforce.
Dylan Beynon 24:09
Totally. And there’s a positive feedback loop, right? Like the negative energy begets a negative interaction with someone which begets more negative energy, it just feeds on itself.
Mark Divine 24:17
So it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Yeah, all these people are dicks around me. Why? Because I think they are. Yeah. And MDMA that does have an effect, just completely like this open, or all of a sudden, it just is inclusive of everything, even plants and animals and Mother Earth. And it’s a fascinating thing. What’s the origin of MDMA? I mean, it does come from plant medicine, but it’s still a chemical, right? It’s manufactured. How do they make MDMA, you know?
Dylan Beynon 24:47
So I believe it’s like methylene, deoxy methamphetamine, is what MDMA stands for. There was this chemist named Alexander Shogun, who is like largely considered the godfather of many, many psychedelics, maybe the godfather of psychedelics. So he was this chemist who was responsible for synthesizing a lot of different psychedelic medicines, phenethylamines, a certain class like MDMA, and a lot of those are, can be derived from things like San Pedro, to tryptamines. So those are drugs that are more like psilocybin, LSD and things like that. So some of the drugs that he’s synthesized that are widely known are MDMA, 2 CB, into a bunch of the two C classes of drugs. This guy was such a legend. He would synthesize these molecules for the first time, he would test them on himself. So he would take like, tiny small amounts and then titrate up, right, he’d record the doses, and record the subjective effects. He would then have a close circle of friends and family who would do similar, explore these molecules. And this was when it was all legal. He was like a researcher who is doing this legally and above ground. And then when he caught wind that a lot of these drugs were going to be scheduled, before it was illegal, he published two books, t call and P call. So phenethylamines I have known and loved and tryptamines I have known and loved. And the book is like, part love story about him and his wife and their background and their story and then the second half is a recipe book, call it, how to synthesize these molecules, as well as like their subjective effects and, and reports on them, which is, you know, something you can buy today, and it’s completely legal and help to get a lot of his research and democratize it and get it out to the public. Hero stuff.
Mark Divine 26:47
That’s pretty wild. Okay, most people when they think of psychedelics, they think of Mary and LSD and, and the hippie movement and all that it was legal, right. And that’s, you know, and it just no one had thought in the government to make it illegal until that movement, and they must have seen some sort of threat to social cohesion in my opinion, that led them to put these things on Schedule C and make them illegal, right.
Dylan Beynon 27:11
There are a lot of theories. One predominant theory is people took psychedelics in the 70s, they didn’t want to go to the Vietnam War. And that was seen as this major risk to the war effort. And, of course, the story we tell ourselves as a society, I maybe have like a hamlin’s razor viewpoint, it’s a little different, or a theory. So hamlin’s razor is like, don’t attribute to malice, what could be attributed to just like incompetence, right? I think we just like we split the atom, like we discovered this, like nuclear level technology for the mind. And that’s scary as hell. And so, you know, if we’ve discovered how to split the atom, what might be the knee jerk reaction, like, out law it. This is too dangerous.
Mark Divine 27:54
Yeah, I tend to go on the other side, where I think people who are trying to organize and control the minds of a populace don’t want everyone to be free. And psychedelics are a very freeing experience, right? It frees you from a lot of the mental constructs that keep you in a limited state or a contracted state of fear. Like for you, it took you out of fear based negative thinking to a very positive, open growth minded, you know, inclusive. So it ascended you up the scale of consciousness very quickly. And so imagine, right, if this was a prescriptive thing for all of a population of humanity, suddenly, we wouldn’t need draconian controls of government. And you know, we’d probably be letting people out of prisons, huge businesses would be out of business. So there’s a lot of money involved in maintaining the status quo.
Dylan Beynon 28:45
I think maybe my viewpoint is even more jaded. Which is, that’s like assuming that the government is that coordinated. I feel like it’s everything’s even more disconcertingly entropic, things are happening. But people have incentives, like debt and growth obligations, or makes everything keep getting bigger and bigger. But there’s no like, massive underlying coordinated strategy that would drive that.
Mark Divine 29:10
You’re probably right, or it could be a combination of both, there might be some interests that push in one direction and others that push the other direction. And everything just kind of balances out where it’s supposed to, at a stage of development for culture.
Dylan Beynon 29:21
I started Mindbloom with this big mission, sounds like it’s quite shared, to transform lives to transform the world. Yeah, so help people become better, healthier, more courageous, and more enlightened versions of themselves for them, but also for what they would then do for their friends, family, community in the world.
Mark Divine 29:37
It’s a team, it’s not just about we’re not a bunch of Yogi’s in a cave, you know, doing this for our own enlightenment, this is all about the team and the global community and the earth.
Dylan Beynon 29:45
I call that the pursuit of Neo enlightenment, I don’t want to retract from society, or to be the best version of myself. Exactly.
Mark Divine 29:52
That’s great, neo enlightenment. I’m gonna adopt that. Thank you.
Dylan Beynon 29:55
So I also started coming out of these two sub goals. One was to build an organization I built like really meaningful, lifelong relationships with people. Like when I went to my career, all the failures are the things that I left, really on the table. We’re all like relationship based. And I’m like success of the organization or my career based. The second was to create a company where we weren’t just transforming the lives of our clients, but to create a transformational, more conscious company culture, where people would say like, because I worked at Mindbloom, I didn’t just have professional transformation. But I grew immensely, personally, psychologically, spiritually, ontologically.
Mark Divine 30:29
We call that a deliberately developmental organization or a DDO. And that’s one of the things that we do with organizations is try to implant that culture, where the organization is about your growth and transformation, as well as the work that you’re doing in society.
Dylan Beynon 30:44
So I read maybe a couple years ago, reinventing organizations. So very challenging, right? Like how do you help build this like decentralized or –
Mark Divine 30:53
Self-managing organization I tried and completely failed. You have to have everyone kind of at the ready for that. It’s difficult.
Dylan Beynon 31:01
So let’s share with you that we do a few things that are really radical. So we don’t believe in one on ones, we do everything as a team. So people bring in, you know what their commitments were over the past few weeks. Did they hit them? Yes, no? If no, then why? What happened? Are they going to change to hit them in the future? Like what’s going well, or not against their objectives and their KPIs key performance indicators, what are their next commitments? And then like, the next week, everyone gives feedback in writing, like, I like, what do I appreciate and I wish was constructive. That is, again, across the team, not just like, up down, but in writing that the whole company can see. So if you join Mindbloom, you can see every piece of critical feedback that I’ve received as CEO over the past few years from all the members of my leadership team, and we do a bunch of other things that are pushing towards sort of a more self managing organization, we do things like decision docks, where people are just responsible for making their own decisions, as long as they have some rigor behind them. We don’t believe in consensus decision making, we believe in extreme levels of personal accountability, responsibility.
Mark Divine 32:06
I think those are great decision models and, you know, ways of organizing productive work, right, because they’re open and inclusive, as opposed to siloing or, you know, point to point. So that’s awesome. How old is Mindbloom now?
Dylan Beynon 32:18
I started the company in late 2018. We launched in September of 2019, probably took us about six months. So still very early, it’s been pretty stunning. We’re by far the largest provider of clinical psychedelic therapy in the country by like, revenue, patients. Our clinical outcomes are next level, we’re about to publish what’s gonna be the largest ever clinical study in psychedelic medicine history of last 60 years from a participants standpoint, like demonstrating the 10x better clinical outcomes, our sub platform that’s at home ketamine therapy with coaching and contents.
Mark Divine 32:54
Are you providing the therapist the product as well? Or how does it work? Like, tell me your business model? How’s it work?
Dylan Beynon 32:59
So Mindbloom is a platform where affiliated psychiatric clinicians are helping people with anxiety and depression by prescribing them at home
Mark Divine 33:07
They have to be PhD psychiatric, they can’t be like a therapist?
Dylan Beynon 33:11
As the prescribers have to be doctors. And they’re all psychiatric providers. They’re specifically mental health care professionals. So psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, that then we also have a network of coaches that we call get their guides, who are specialized mental health care coaches and counselors, who are specifically trained in how to help people prepare, go through and integrate ketamine and psychedelic therapy experiences to get the most out of them. Right now they’re trained all over I mean, we have a training program, the things we’re excited about is I do a little bit more of like a formal certification program. So we train them when they come on, some have gone through different training programs. And right now, we have a couple 100 providers that work with us, we’re working to build out what the best World Class, sort of remote coaching program for psychedelic therapy, looks like. Right now they’re doing everything from like, individual zoom sessions, they do group integration sessions, where people come on and share about their experiences. Some of the people who have done ayahuasca, might sound familiar. And then also messaging through the platform to help people help them send their intentions based on their intentions, help guide them on maybe guided visual imagery, or different music or meditations they should use for the session, help them journal after the session and give them different integration practices and kind of keep them accountable to them. Between each session.
Mark Divine 34:36
Cup is fantastic. My wife is actually looking at a certification program as CIAS, And she’s taken a course in the use of EMDR with psychedelics, and what a powerful combination that is right there. You’re familiar with EMDR?
Dylan Beynon 34:55
Yes, I’ve done several times.
Mark Divine 34:56
Yeah, that’s been valuable for me actually, I’ve I’ve used the EMDR quite a bit to overcome some of my trauma, childhood trauma, and it’s very effective, as well. And so psychedelics as well, you put those two together, this is really powerful. I’m excited for you and for everyone to learn about this. So you’ve already served over 100,000. I saw maybe that was even old stuff.
Dylan Beynon 35:15
Yeah, we’re doing well over 100,000 Psychedelic therapy sessions here, right now, through the platform.
Mark Divine 35:20
It seems like it’s still pretty fringe. I mean, that’s a surprising number. I mean, is this more prevalent than maybe I’m aware already?
Dylan Beynon 35:27
That’s a good question. So the way I think about it is mental health care is widely considered the number one public health crisis COVID notwithstanding and COVID has made it way worse. Depression, number one cause of disability worldwide. Suicides second leading cause of death for people 18 to 35. Right, fourth leading cause of death for people 35 to 55. Overdose deaths have gone up 5x in the past 20 years, right, wild. And when you look at, why does this problem exist? You can kind of look at it two ways. There’s people who are getting severe mental health issues. So what are the causes of those, and then those people who are not getting their issues resolved. So there’s like a treatment issue. When you dig into the clinical research around existing treatment options, so that’s like SSRIs, like Lexapro, Prozac. 40 million Americans are prescribed, or even talk therapy. What you see is that they’re just not good enough. Obviously, they don’t work. SSRIs only work 40 to 47% of the time, in terms of having clinically significant response from a given SSRI. Over 50% of people have like severe side effects, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, they take six to eight weeks to work, just waiting. And then they might not work, you might have side effects. And a lot of people who might need help, don’t take them because they don’t want to get hooked on a daily medication that they take every day. So ketamine therapy, our ketamine therapy program. It’s at home, gets people a clinically significant result, like twice as frequently as that is over 80% of the time. It works right away. less than 5% of our clients have side effects. They’re usually pretty light, like nausea. And you can take it periodically versus as needed, right? Pretty pleasant experience most of the time.
Mark Divine 37:06
Are you using inhaled ketamine or injected?
Dylan Beynon 37:11
It’s actually sublingual, so these little flavor tablets, people put under their tongue, their sublingual membrane or in their cheeks, and it’s absorbed directly in the bloodstream. So it sits there for about seven minutes. While they’re listening to guided meditations and music. There’s a chime, spit it out, session is about an hour.
Mark Divine 37:33
The effect lasts for that long.
Dylan Beynon 37:35
It’s about an hour on average, sometimes it’s as low as like 35 to 45 minutes. Sometimes you can last like an hour and a half or longer.
Mark Divine 37:42
Well, that’s fascinating. And that’s the only thing you’re working with ketamine, you’re not working with psilocybin.
Dylan Beynon 37:47
Ketamine is the only prescribable.
Mark Divine 37:49
That’s the only legal one right at this point. That’s right. I forgot about that. Dylan Beynon 37:53
Psilocybin is very exciting. Oregon recently passed a law or statute that essentially create a two year period for them to figure out a clinical construct to prescribe and administer therapeutic medical, psilocybin. MDMA is in like the last last leg of FDA approval. So maps, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, they’ve been working on like psychedelic advocacy, psychedelic legalization, medicalization for over 50 years. And we are like one year away from MDMA assisted therapy being FDA approved.
Mark Divine 38:27
Oh, wow. There’s a lot of money flowing into this industry as well. I know, like people, famous venture capitalists like Peter Thiel are investing in psilocybin use as a pharmacological kind of intervention.
Dylan Beynon 38:39
Yeah, we’re, we’re backed by a bunch of tier one VCs. Yeah.
Mark Divine 38:43
I have a foundation called the Courage Foundation. We work with vets, and there’s so many vets who have been healed with psychedelics, but there’s so many that don’t know anything about it, right? Most don’t. Right. So a handful have been healed like hundreds and 1000s are suffering, from posttraumatic stress. I’ve talked to some SEALs who’ve gone through it, and these guys were like, desperate, you know, just drinking every day and literally about ready to off themselves and they come out of it with a sparkle in their eye. You know, a few weeks later after integration, they’re like, Hey, I’m back, baby. No, it’s really funny story. This one SEAL. You know, SEALs are just crazy as it can be. As you can imagine, this one SEAL literally comes out of his 5MEODMT, which is the desert frog for anyone that doesn’t know it’s like 15 minutes of just pure God experience. He literally comes out of it. His eyes are like, wow, and he does a backflip. And he goes “Baby, I’m back!!”
Dylan Beynon 39:39
Very different reaction, my 5MEODMT experiences with a lot of clinicians who are events, a lot of our clients are vets. Yeah, we would love to have different programs, like specifically for vets are like continuing to partner with more and more veteran organization to help our service members.
Mark Divine 39:58
Trauma doesn’t discriminate. But vets have a particular nasty version of it because of you know, what they face in combat. And so you’re just at the beginning of this journey with Mindbloom, what are the business goals for you? You’re going to go public and try to take this thing to a certain size, or what do you think Yeah. Is it more about the social impact you can make?
Dylan Beynon 40:17
Well, they’re not mutually exclusive. So we’re the number one provider of consumer psychotherapy, but it’s like day one. Yeah, we just talked about how big the problem is and how deficient existing treatment options are. So if you think that like a 10x better solution to our biggest problems will be the future, then it’s clear as day to me that the future is going to be ketamine and then other medicines and therapies and eventually other neuro technologies that we develop in the future will overtake all these existing treatment options as like the predominant treatment. So the goal is to in the short term help make ketamine therapy and mainstream treatments potentially the frontline treatments over SSRIs by radically increasing access to treatments. And by creating a product that’s getting people better outcomes and better experiences. So that means, we need to make it approachable for people, so that people consider it, because it’s still weird and stigmatized and scary as hell. We need to make it affordable for people so that they can actually afford treatment, and actually available to people. One of the things I think a lot about is just my family growing up, like if ketamine therapy was around 20 years ago, like, would we have tried it for my mother, right? One, it would have been, we’re gonna like treat my mother’s drug addiction with another drug, like, that’s confusing. So that would have taken a lot of education, and a lot of getting comfortable and seeing other people do it probably. Two, a single working class father, when I started Mindbloom three years ago, it was like 800 or $1,000 a session like the average ketamine clinic. And so like, that was off the table for us, right. And then three, getting to a clinic or having someone take you and sit with you, for hours take you back, like really tough for us like a single mother, like four, right? So even with our family, like a single working father, like, who’s gonna take her who’s gonna deal with this, who’s gonna watch the kids when we you know, when babysitters are hard. So that’s one of the reasons that we’re using telemedicine to get access for this to people who don’t have access, because they maybe live in a rural environment
Mark Divine 42:16
Reduced or eliminated almost all the barriers.
Dylan Beynon 42:19
One by one we’re trying, but I think due to our discussion earlier, the goal goal is to help make a dent in global human suffering, and also help people unlock their potential so that they’re better people for themselves, but also better people for the world, and sovereignty to increase human capital by helping to transform consciousness.
Mark Divine 42:40
Yeah, I love it. Awesome. I really appreciate what you’re doing. And I appreciate your vision and mission. Psychedelic therapy, or even just an experience, even if you think you’re healthy, can be a catalyst, right for further growth. And it should be curated instead of with a bunch of friends. Right? In my opinion.
Dylan Beynon 42:55
Thanks. I love using the word radical responsibility. Have you read the 15 commitments of conscious leadership? It’s exceptional. It’s one of the few books that we give every new Bloominere, every new Mindbloom employee when they start. The Bloomineres work in the Mindbloomiverse, it’s not really a company culture unless you’re creating your own language. I believe the first commitment is like taking 100% responsibility. Yeah, something that we talk about a lot. And I get asked all the time, like, what is the best mental health and well being practice or treatment? And my response is like, deciding that you’re going to take 100% responsibility for your own mental health and well being as a 100% non-negotiable top priority. I feel like what’s the most important thing for your physical health? It’s like deciding that you’re going to take control of your physical health, not your doctor or trainer.
Mark Divine 43:50
Yeah, no, no, it’s like you take care of your fitness, you take care of your nutrition, you take care of your sleep. You take care of your supplementation. If you have an injury, you know, maybe you need to consult an expert, but it’s still up to you to heal it. I 100% agree with that.
All right, buddy. Really great to talk to you. I look forward to staying connected in the future.
Likewise, Mark, this was a blast. Thanks for having me on.
Yeah, likewise, appreciate your time today. All right. Take care.
Awesome. What an incredible episode that was with Dylan Beynon, founder of Mindbloom, which is a psychedelic therapeutic company that delivers over 100,000 Psychedelic therapy sessions a year using at-home administered ketamine. This is a game changer, folks. So if you know anybody out there who knows someone or is suffering from anxiety and depression and you struggle with pharmacological solutions, or you don’t want to get addicted to that stuff, and I wouldn’t blame you. Then check out Mindbloom about how psychedelics are going to change the face of mental health and doings at the forefront of that using ketamine therapy. And soon we’ll have MDMA, he says MDMA is about a year away from being approved by the FDA and then psilocybin will be fast after that. So it’s a real game changer. What’s happening in the field of psychedelics for the emotional and mental and psychological healing and to create a culture of growth, which Dylan’s doing at Mindbloom.
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