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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Most venture capitalists aim to be "value-add" for their founders, providing advice and services beyond their primary role as financiers.

Why it matters: Freestyle Capital today is pushing this trend into mental health treatment.

  • The San Francisco-based firm will begin by offering two programs to all of its portfolio founders, free of charge.
  • One is a three-month digital program for treating depression, anxiety and burnout ⁠— provided by Freestyle portfolio company Meru Health.
  • The other is a one-week, intensive on-site program offered by a nonprofit called The Hoffman Institute.

What they're saying: Freestyle partner Josh Felser, who previously co-founded companies, tells Axios that he's publicly announcing the initiative in order to persuade other venture firms to follow suit:

"Founders say that they often don't have the money for therapy or have the time. And even if they had both, they wouldn't know where to go. I do think there's a growing realization that it's OK for a founder to get help, but the only two therapists I know are fully booked, so when founders do ask, I can't even recommend someone. ... So we did research to find two catalytic change options that address the time factor and we're taking care of the cost factor."

The big picture: This is different from executive "coaching" (which also is underutilized, as we discussed in the context of Away).

  • Instead, it's a recognition that while founders are in positions of power, many of them also are under exceptional stress that can metastasize into everything from physical ailments to poor decision-making — things that can put an entire company, and its employees, at risk.

The bottom line: This is one of those times when being a "copycat investor" would be celebrated, not criticized.

Go deeper: Corporate America opens up on silencing mental health stigma

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.

1 hour ago - World

Blinken, Austin call out China at event on Australia security pact

Blinken and Austin. Photo: Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned China's "aggressive" and "destabilizing" behavior at a press conference Thursday, as they inaugurated a major new trilateral security partnership with Australia and the U.K.

Why it matters: China was not explicitly mentioned in President Biden's announcement of the AUKUS alliance, through which the U.S. and the U.K. will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a broader effort to ensure "peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific."

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.