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7 Cups of Tea

Marketplace for emotional support. Talk to a trained listener.

Highlights

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1,900 call and chat requests per week
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40% rev share on transactions
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40% week over week growth

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Some of our listeners

Recent studies show loneliness is on the rise—and that it’s a serious health problem. Although technology and social media make us more connected than we’ve ever been, they can increase unhappiness and isolation. But one new startup is aiming to offer true emotional support online. Psychologist Glen Moriarty founded 7 Cups of Tea—the name comes from a poem by Chinese poet Lu Tong—to give those struggling with loneliness and other problems a place to be heard.

“You don’t need to be a therapist to listen to people,” Moriarty says. “We help people find someone that won’t judge them when all they need to do is talk.”

The startup offers just that—the chance to connect immediately with a sympathetic listener while remaining anonymous. Users are given the chance to choose listeners with similar experiences, but unlike friends and family, 7 Cups of Tea listeners don’t attempt to solve the problems for you. The message: I understand. I’ve been there too.

A problem that needs solving

The idea for 7 Cups of Tea struck Moriarty when he was stewing over a problem. His wife was there to listen like she had been thousands of times before.

“Talking to her made me feel so much better, and it struck me how much more difficult my life would be without her to talk to,” he says. “Sometimes, it just takes a great listener.” But what about people who don’t have that person? That question is how 7 Cups of Tea was born.

Moriarty first stepped into the entrepreneurial ring when he founded a top-rated learning management company. It taught him the ins and outs of online, interactive collaboration and while the company is successful, Moriarty felt something was missing.

“I love education, I love SaaS, but it’s not a world changer thing,” he says. “It’s not something you want to be known for when you die. … It’s important to think about what is the most important thing you should be doing.” For Moriarty, that “thing” is bringing emotional support to the world via great listeners.

With 7 Cups of Tea, Moriarty has drawn upon his experience as a therapist and seasoned web entrepreneur to create a product that is an extension of offline human behavior—bringing the therapeutic value of active listening to online users that don’t have access to it. Feedback from early users proved that he wasn’t the only one that saw the importance of listening. One user wrote him soon after using the product: “I just tried this out and seconds later I’m chatting with a kind and compassionate person who’s listening to me? It feels like a veil lifted.”

On average, 7Cups users report feeling 40% better after being listened to—and there has yet to be a single negative experience reported, according to Moriarty. “Even though having problems is very common, you feel very isolated when you’re going through them,” Moriarty says.

How it works

7 Cups of Tea recruits listeners—pulling from colleges and universities and organizations and the National Alliance on Mental Illness—who complete an online course that equips them with the active listening skills. Each listener is background checked and many are even licensed professional counselors and therapists.

Users can browse available listeners’ bios and star ratings and search by fields of expertise from parenting to anxiety. Pick Ollie, a Lutheran pastor, or Nicole, a third-year psychology major, and choose to either chat or call. Then, users can talk about anything that’s on their mind—for truly serious problems, listeners can refer users to therapists. Most listeners are available for free or on a “you choose” basis, for those with a per-minute fee, 7 Cups of Tea takes 40% of the transaction.

Currently building the site’s listener community after a June launch, Moriarty is considering selling bundled minutes to employee assistance programs and elderly assisted living facilities as the site grows. One testimonial? Many of 7 Cups of Tea’s listeners first came to the site as users calling for support.

“They were listened to and it was really meaningful and helpful—and they wanted to give back,” Moriarty says.

Sign up and try it for yourself at 7cupsoftea.com?

Overview