Introducing Slingshot

May 30, 2024

We’re excited to announce the launch of Slingshot AI - the AI mental health research lab training the first foundation model for psychology. We're partnering with mental health providers across the globe to help them provide the best support to everyone, everywhere.

We are developing the technology that would have helped us in the toughest moments of our past, and that we hope will help all of us in the future. We invite you to join our mission:

- If you’re a mental health clinic and are interested in partnering to use our models within your organization, please reach out to us at

- If you’d like to try SLG-1, our first model, you can sign up to give it a try here.

Discussing loneliness while travelling for work. Ash focuses on positive psychology, redirecting to gratefulness.
Discussing fear of getting fired for a mistake at work. Ash focuses on challenging potential cognitive distortions.
Seeking advice regarding a roommate conflict. Ash discusses ideas for having a productive conversation with the roommate.

Note from Neil:

A decade ago, I dropped out of medical school to start the sleep company, Casper. I came to realize the impact of sleep on mental health - and the impact of mental health on everyone. The current mental health crisis is impacting every single one of us. We all know someone who’s struggling and needs help. In 2022, 55.8M American adults received mental healthcare. And among the younger generation, things are getting even worse. Here’s something I read just this past week:

“A 2023 study of American college students found that 37% reported feeling anxious ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ while an additional 31% felt this way ‘about half the time.’ Which means that only one-third of college students said they feel anxiety less than half the time or never.” (The Anxious Generation)

Despite the overwhelming need, it is estimated that there is only one mental health provider for every 1,000 to 10,000 people seeking care. And you probably don’t need statistics to know that problems like substance abuse, eating disorders, depression and suicide are in states of crisis.

On a personal level, I’ve been privileged to have access incredible support — and I’ve seen firsthand how the therapeutic process can change people’s minds and their lives, including mine. I’ve helped friends find therapists, sent dozens to the Hoffman Process, and invested in many digital health companies helping increase access to care.

Over the last 18 months, I had been looking for a co-founder to start an AI lab focused on mental health. Six months ago, I met Sequoia AI investor, David Cahn, in line at a coffee bar. We spent hours talking about life and philosophy, and he introduced me to his brother, Daniel, who had the exact same ambition.

I took a walk with Daniel that Sunday and learned that he and I have been living seemingly parallel lives - we both dropped out of school, shared similar values and struggles in our personal lives, and had a deep connection to mental health, which he had studied in college and done research in after. Daniel understands how AI models and the human mind work better than anyone I’ve ever met (in fact, his podcast Thinking Machines is about the intersection of philosophy and AI).

Daniel and I have interviewed over 100 therapists and mental health leaders. We were positively surprised to hear how much people in the space had thinking about using AI to take on the massive latent demand they were facing. Therapists are looking for offerings to the people on their waiting lists, struggling with subclinical issues like stress, loneliness, sadness, navigating life changes like jobs and relationships, developing healthy habits, re-adjusting post-discharge. On the other end, people in mental health crisis also need more support. Every crisis line we talk to is overwhelmed by demand, and significantly understaffed and under resourced.

After our walk, Daniel and I mapped out the Slingshot Master Plan on a whiteboard. We’ve spent the last six months since building an incredible mission-oriented team and bringing our plan to life.

Note from Daniel:

I started Slingshot two years ago when I saw the huge potential in training task-specific generative models. Training models at Instabase for finance, I saw that specialized models will unlock the most valuable use cases for AI, but are limited by the lack of tools to target the most important problems of our time. I developed the toolkit and immediately partnered with organizations in the mental health space, who told us they wanted the help that AI could provide.

To get us off the ground, I partnered with Felicis Ventures, which is not only a top AI investor, but perhaps the most mission-driven fund that we met. Felicis empathizes values of “success with empathy” and “impact with integrity,” and only accepts investors that individually have a positive impact on the world. They’re also the first venture firm to commit 1% on top of every first check they write towards personal development and mental health support for their founders.

Along with Felicis, I’ve been extraordinarily privileged to work with top-tier investors who are also good people, including BoxGroup, Gokul Rajaram, Jerry Murdock, Bryan Baum, Sumeet Gajri, Arjun Sethi, Mike Stoppelman, Liu Jiang, Cory Levy, and my #1 investor, my brother, David.

And of course, I found a partner and a friend in Neil, a fellow dropout with shared values and a ton of integrity and empathy.

If it’s not obvious by now, I want to say outright that we take our mission extraordinarily seriously. We probably have the longest required reading list of any AI company - and it’s because we know that this project has the potential to be one of the most consequential projects of our time.

Our Ask:

At Slingshot, we’re building the first foundation model for mental health. We believe in a world where there is abundant access to help, and where AI fits into and enhances the landscape of mental health support across the spectrum of needs, from helping people directly to assisting providers to deliver better care. AI has the potential to increase - not decrease - people’s sense of autonomy, competency and connection to other people.

To do that, we’re partnering with mental health organizations around the world to build together. If you’re a mental healthcare provider, we want to collaborate with you, learn from you, and offer our technology to support your community. We have partnerships with top organizations in the mental health space, and we’ll be announcing more about those partnerships soon. If you’re looking to expand what you can offer the people who come to you for support, please drop Neil a note at neil [at]

We’re looking to grow our team of missionaries. We’re conducting novel applied research, including aligning models for effective long-term trajectories. If you have experience training language models, drop Daniel a note at daniel [at]

PS: if you want to try out an early version of our model, you can sign up here to try it yourself.