the talktank
the talktank
Mar 12, 2023
María Clara - video games and mental health
Play • 44 min

The Beyond Profit Series

Hosted by Laura Calle

María Clara Mesa is a Colombian entrepreneur that fell in love with technology and healthcare. ❤

She is a partner of Alternova, a software development company focused on digital health, specialising in developing digital therapeutic video games and gaming-inspired digital products. 🎮👩‍⚕️

Alternova has become an essential player in the health tech industry, having clients such as Stanford, MIT, UCSF, Brain Balance Centers, Children National, DoD, and Takeda. They create digital therapeutics (which includes video games), patient monitor apps and platforms, and platforms to collect and process healthcare. 🏫

María Clara, besides having a full-time job in Alternova, is also a startup mentor to provide qualified autism innovators with the resources they need to scale their ideas. Besides this, she is a baby angel investor, a diversity and women in tech advocate and has recently been interested in using psychedelics for medicinal purposes. 💰🍄

María Clara has a high educational background as she is a lawyer, studied business administration and has a master’s in International Business and Business Analytics. 👏

Check out Alternova:


1:35 - Who is María Clara?

2:10 - Alternova’s transition from VR construction to healthcare and gaming

4:00 - Realising your company has no real purpose

4:59 - Finding your company’s purpose

5:48 - Shifting your employees into a completely different industry

7:35 - Feeling the impact

9:43 - Video games that help diagnose mental disabilities

11:20 - Why use video games in healthcare?

12:18 - How training athletes with cognitive VR helps them perform better and earn scholarships

12:32 - Games that help people with autism read

13:48 - A game that helps with ADHD, a possible replacement for focus drugs like Ritalin?

15:25 - Do you find visiting your GP fun? No, it’s probably sh*t.

17:40 - María’s vision for healthcare

18:43 - The intersection of psychedelics and tech

19:50 - Near-death family VR therapy, replacing your VR body with a ball of energy!

23:24 - What got María into neurodiversity work?

24:57 - María’s (and a lot of other entrepreneurs’) superpower: ADHD

26:54 - Women in science and tech

30:17 - Key to growth: forming relationships in key countries like the US

33:04 - How to maintain a work-life balance? Say no

35:18 - The power of music, meditation, and water

37:26 - María’s unconventional book recommendations

43:05 - María’s dream interview guest

Special shoutout to Jessica Ge for producing this episode! 😼

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