In the spring of 2014, I reached out cold to Mike Russell and Justin Geller to discuss the business they were working on at the time – Paintzen. That call was the start of one of the most rewarding experiences for me as an investor. Not only was it one of the first exits I participated in as an investor, but we all became friends along the way.

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of (and our investment in) Mike and Justin’s next business, Monument, which was born out of Mike’s own personal experience.

Monument is an online platform that provides virtual, therapist-led support groups, a robust community, and personalized medical treatment for the millions of people in the U.S. looking to change their relationship with alcohol. Its treatment plans are personalized to each member and are designed to support both sobriety and moderation.

The problem it is solving is huge. According to the CDC, “the cost of excessive alcohol use in the U.S. rose to almost a quarter trillion dollars in 2010.” And right now the problem is only getting bigger: alcohol sales are up 30% year over year, and shelter in place is only increasing the number of relapses, according to early data. Although AA and other treatment options provide critical care to many, we believe it’s time to bring effective treatment online in order to broaden access to therapy, community and medicine to treat alcohol related issues.

Thank you Mike, Justin and the entire Monument team for helping solve this problem, and for inviting us along for the journey.