Company Creates Virtual Reality-Based Tools For Adolescents Who Struggle With Mental Health


Root VR builds and provides virtual reality-based therapy tools for mental health professionals and the adolescents and families they serve. Their products leverage the incredible potential for virtual reality to influence the human brain in a way that promotes learning and healing.

When Root VR was started, both of the company's original founders relied on their personal and individual experiences with trauma, abuse, and mental health disorders as the source of their passion and mission. With this motivation, they built a platform based on empathy with the lived experiences and struggles their customers face. David Waltenbaugh, founder, was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorders as a teenager and has managed these conditions for the entirety of his adult life. As he entered adulthood and eventually started a family of his own, he became increasingly interested in finding a way to use his personal experiences to help others who might be experiencing a familiar darkness. When he discovered the incredible power and potential for virtual reality to make significant advances in treating and supporting mental health, David knew he had found the wonderful opportunity he was looking for to put his experience, creativity, and passion to a purposeful and impactful use.

COVID-19 has put a significant damper on Root VR’s ability to engage in business development, customer acquisition, and other research and development efforts. Their first major pilot program has been put on hold, and they have been forced to pause efforts to begin additional pilot programs and research until it is safe and reasonable to do so.

Root VR is one of a small number of new companies to commercialize the use of virtual reality in support of mental health and one of the only such platforms in the world specifically devoted to the unique needs of adolescents, their families, and the mental health professionals that support them. Additionally, through a recent partnership with a Guatemala-based mental health services company, they expect to be one of the first virtual reality healthcare companies to offer a Spanish-language platform specifically designed to support families in Mexico and Central America as well as the Latinx diaspora in the United States.

As Root VR is in its relatively early stages, they anticipate a significant increase in revenue, and aim to increase their user base tenfold over the next 12 months. They also hope to hire their first non-founder full-time staff members, as well as raise their first round of early stage/seed investment.

Root VR is actively seeking for private practice clinicians, youth and family services organizations, and schools to participate in pilot programs using their platform in live mental health care scenarios. They would love to connect with interested professionals and organizations who would be interested in participating in these pilot programs or helping with research.

Additionally, they are looking to connect with families of children with emotional and behavioral needs, histories of trauma, and diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health challenges who might benefit from Root VR’s platform to participate in beta testing or target market/customer needs identification interviews.

Finally, Root VR is interested in connecting with clinical and pediatric psychologists and other medical or healthcare professionals who might be interested in an advisory role with the company.

Location: Richmond, VA

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