Published: Sept. 29, 2022 By

 

The Connective CoFunders, Allison Field (Left) and Laura Orland (Right)University of Colorado Boulder MBA student Laura Orland has created a new health and wellness platform for young adults and college students, known as The Connective!  

About The Connective 

The Connective is a free wellness text service that delivers curated, science-backed tools and resources to improve individuals’ mental health.  

Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Laura began her professional career in Media Production for the Today Show where she met cofounder Allison Field. The pair share an interest in health and wellness, which inspired them to develop a platform to serve the public. Years later, when the pandemic brought mental health to the forefront of society, Laura and Allison came to a consensus that text messaging was an ideal way to communicate with those seeking health and wellness resources. 

“We both had this really interesting parallel of lives, and we were talking about ways to take our love for content creation and what we know about health and wellness to create this avenue for people to learn ways to improve their well-being.” 

The duo used this passion to build The Connective, a platform that texts actionable ways to cater to individuals’ well-being. 

To provide the best resources in health and wellbeing, The Connective has partnered with national wellness brands, mental health experts, and local Boulder fitness studios, shops, and stores. 

Experience with New Venture Challenge  

While completing her MBA at the University of Colorado Boulder, Laura caught word of the New Venture Challenge, a cross-campus pitch competition designed to propel student-run ventures. 

Through the New Venture Challenge, Laura and Allison discovered the importance of identifying The Connective’s product market fit and conducted cross-country research to better their business. Through this research, they identified college students as primary customers. She elaborates, 

“Getting a taste of what services college campuses provided students gave us a lot of clarity on where the holes were. Students said the health and wellness programs are overrun, and that they’re unable to get in for therapy and feel uncomfortable going to a peer-to-peer counseling session.” 

Laura and Allison took this feedback to become a steppingstone for students to find healthy ways to combat feelings of anxiety and depression. The Connective aims to assist students in developing routines that enable them to take the steps needed to manage their mental health and approach starting therapy or getting involved in other self-care activities. 

Building an understanding around student needs took a lot of time and energy. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, Laura and Allison became finalists in the Female Founder category of the 2022 New Venture Challenge. She reflects, 

“It was cool that we made it... We didn’t get first place, but we learned so much through that experience, because we had no choice but to get the questions answered, and, you know, do the work.” 

The New Venture Challenge gave The Connective duo the momentum they needed to build their business plan, conduct thorough market research, and refine their pitch.  

Upcoming Projects & Events 

Laura and Allison are actively accepting applications for The Connective’s College Campus Representative Program. Campus representatives will serve as a resource for college students to learn more about The Connective and assist with marketing efforts.   

The Connective founder Laura Orland (Left) pictured with The University of Colorado Boulder's mascot, Chip (Right)Laura believes student representatives are essential to The Connective team, she comments, 

“When I was in college, I was in one of the worst mental health states of my life for about two years. When we made the decision to focus on college students, it resonated with me because I never had anything to guide me through what I was experiencing. It took me a long time to find a therapist. 

I would have been better equipped if I had some holistic techniques to turn to during times of high anxiety and stress. Hiring ambassadors is a key component of this. We do not just want them to be marketers for The Connective, we want them to extract real value and understand what we’re doing and why.” 

In the long term, Laura envisions The Connective serving all college campuses. She explains, 

“Boulder is the first to get The Connective. This will serve as a pilot and a learning space where we can extract a lot from students who are engaged with The Connective. We can take what we learn to create a strong template to parlay onto other college campuses. Eventually, we want The Connective to exist on college campuses and be led by students across the country” 

If you are a current student interested in joining The Connective team, apply now to become a college representative!  

Challenges Faced 

Laura has found The Connective difficult to explain to customers, since it is a new, unique preventative mental health platform. People often avoid signing up for texting services and newsletters because they fear spam and unnecessary content. The Connective, sifts through science-back wellness data to deliver short, easy-to-understand, and actionable content to subscribers. 

Laura adds, 

“[younger generations are] quick to pick out inauthenticity in brands. They want people and brands who are both credible and have their best interests at heart.”  

Laura has found marketing to younger generations difficult. Fortunately, The Connective’s campus representatives serve as a resource for younger generations to learn more about the company and connect.  

Advice 

Laura provides the following advice, 

“In your early years out of undergrad, try to say yes to everything, even if you're uncertain about whether it's the right decision for you. You will make good and bad decisions, and everything will teach you something along the way.  Eventually, you'll get to a place where you can look over your shoulder and review all the things that you've done early on in your career.  

You'll notice that everything makes sense because you are ultimately going towards the one thing that you should be doing, and all the stuff that you've done behind you adds up to that. So, just say yes to all of the unexpected opportunities that come your way.  It'll teach you a lot.” 

Students can sign up for The Connective by texting “BOULDER” to (720) 679-8609 or scanning the QR code on The Connective’s website

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