Nikolai Vassev is the founder and CEO of Mindleap Health Inc., the world’s first telemedicine platform focused on psychedelic treatments. In Nik’s interview with Segev LLP, he shares some insight on how he got involved in this space and how Mindleap is navigating the psychedelics industry. Segev LLP is a full solutions business law firm with experience advising companies in the cannabis and psychedelics industries. Their work includes assisting clients with corporate, commercial, IP, private and public finance, securities and regulatory matters. Segev LLP is honored to have assisted Mindleap Health Inc. with their legal needs.
Segev LLP: What is your current involvement in the psychedelic industry?
Nik Vassev: I am the CEO and founder of Mindleap Health Inc., and I’m involved in the industry in various ways. My main focus is on ensuring our platform is adding value both to mental health professionals as well as people utilizing psychedelics for healing and personal growth.
Segev LLP: Tell me about Mindleap Health.
Nik Vassev: Mindleap is a telehealth platform that connects people looking to utilize psychedelics with experienced mental health professionals that can support them. The platform is available to download for free and it allows people to browse and easily schedule appointments and purchase mental health services. Specialists who use Mindleap benefit from the platform’s full freedom to manage their virtual practice on their terms setting their own prices, choosing the hours they work each week, and onboard new clients. Mindleap also has mood, emotion, and habit tracking capabilities and will be offering self-paced digital programs later this year.
Segev LLP: What do you hope to achieve with Mindleap?
Nik Vassev: We want to build a successful telehealth platform that can help millions of people to improve their mental health.
Segev LLP: Tell me about your team. What areas of expertise do they have?
Nik Vassev: We have eight people on the software developer team who are experienced developers, a UX/UI designer, multiple people working in marketing, our CTO involved in everything technology-wise, and our head of specialist recruitment works on adding more specialists to the platform. We have a customer service representative and four mental health advisors that help shape our product roadmap and go to market strategy.
Segev LLP: How has the stigma of psychedelics affected Mindleap?
Nik Vassev: We have found that a significant amount of people are curious about psychedelics but many are unsure of how to go about doing so, or are hesitant to “take the leap”. We are overcoming this by educating people with evidence-based materials and with our new video series “The Psychedelic Scientist”. We are getting ready to launch a digital program that will help educate people on how to use psychedelics in a safe manner.
Segev LLP: What is the biggest issue holding the industry back?
Nik Vassev: Definitely regulations. This seems to be changing rather quickly and I think in a few years time the psychedelics industry will be in a very good spot.
Segev LLP: I understand that users are not permitted to use psychedelics while using the Mindleap platform?
Nik Vassev: Right. We don’t encourage people to use Mindleap during a psychedelic session but to use it after one. Most of the healing and breakthroughs are achieved with the help of a specialist across several “psychedelic integration” sessions.
Segev LLP: What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone interested in getting into the legal psychedelics industry?
Nik Vassev: People who enter into this industry need to have a real passion for it to make it through. It is definitely a budding industry and there is a lot of opportunity for those with passion and those who have the right experience. It can be very hard. I think many of us can make a contribution — whether by entering the space or simply by donating to a great cause like Therapsil or MAPS.
Segev LLP: What are your predictions for the next 12 months for the industry? In particular, do you think there will be any movement towards decriminalization or legalization?
Nik Vassev: I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know. I don’t know how Americans will vote on this, but I think there will be considerable progress made on that front, especially since there is the vote in Oregon for legalization and other votes for decriminalization as well. In Canada, the Section 56 Exemption (of the Controlled Substance and Drugs Act) has been recently approved to allow end of life patient to access psychedelic treatments, which is exciting to see happen. Those are the biggest catalysts to the industry apart from the clinical trials that are going on. Mydecine Innovations Group (the parent company of Mindleap), Mindmed, Entheon Biomedical, Revive Therapeutics all have Phase 1 trials in the works right now. I think 2021 will be a big year.
Segev LLP: How do you think the general public views psychedelics? What needs to be done to improve that perception?
Nik Vassev: I think the general public looks at psychedelics with wonder and with questions. It is not widely accepted, but there is a lot of curiosity. People are wondering, will it be legalized? How do psychedelics work? It is a big question mark in people’s eyes. They have heard things, it’s in the zeitgeist, but people still have a lot of questions.
Segev LLP: What were some of the legal challenges a psychedelics company needs to be prepared to overcome? Any recommendations to the industry to help them overcome those?
Nik Vassev: It’s really important to have experienced and dedicated lawyers who really understand the regulatory landscape. There are many legal risks that as a company you need to be aware of and properly manage for your business to be successful.
Segev LLP: What advice would you give in selecting the right legal team?
Nik Vassev: It is a relationship, so it’s important to look for a firm and lawyers who believe in your mission and are aligned with your values, and who also have a proven track record.
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