Team 

AVISHAI AFEK

Founder / Mental Health Specialist

Avishai Afek is a mental health advocate living in Buffalo, NY. Born in Israel and moved to WNY for college, he holds a B.A. in psychology from SUNY Fredonia and is graduating with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from University at Buffalo in May of 2021.


Afek  has worked as a counselor for individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders for more than three years. He has co-founded multiple non-profit projects and is also a WNY Prosperity Fellow. Through the fellowship he has become committed to entrepreneurship and business leadership. Avishai is currently working as a clinician at the Research Institute on Addiction and is also an organizer for various groups that advocate for individuals who struggle with mental health and substance use issues.​

 

As a company we are committed to reducing mental health stigma and aren't afraid to share our own stories. Afek founded StartWell because of his personal experience with therapy since a young age, which inspired his professional pursuits. After many years in therapy, sometimes with counselors that really helped and some that really didn't, Avishai understands the difficulty of finding the right counselor, and how much a good therapist can impact mental health.

 

Friends started asking him how to find the right therapist, and he realized how many more people struggled with this problem. Following that he supported friends and family to navigate the current system and find the proper therapists using the latest research. He realized that he could help more people by digitizing the process which is what inspired StartWell. StartWell was created to impact the lives of many people, like Afek, who are confused by the impersonal system of finding a therapist and want a better, easier, and faster system to find a therapist that will actually help.

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Joseph Cascioli

Co-Founder / Software Specialist

Joe is a full-stack software engineer of four years currently working at Frontier Science in Buffalo, NY. He graduated with his B.S. in computer science at University at Buffalo, but Joe has always had a passion for engineering and computer programming.

 

Joseph worked for three years at Architecture Technology Company where he designed and prototyped projects from the ground up, targeting new and exciting technologies.  This has given him great experience in designing, developing, and testing projects as well as producing software from ideas. He currently has several patents pending from his previous work.

Joe came on as a technical co-founder one afternoon after long time friend Afek shared the idea of StartWell with him; he could personally relate to the struggle of finding a good therapist and wasting time on therapy that doesn't work.

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