ADHD startups are exploding, and now there’s even a dedicated browser

ADHD startups are exploding, and now there’s even a dedicated browser

ADHD startups are exploding, and now there's even a dedicated browser

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Was it the pandemic? Has everyone followed too many ADHD TikTokers? Have smartphones fried our brains? Either way, technology solutions for ADHD are booming, from online drug deliveries to websites and apps.


There is definitely something going on there. There were 139.84 million and 366.33 million adults affected by ADHD in 2020, worldwide. Adults with ADHD are said to lose an average of 22 days of productivity per year. And between 2003 and 2011, the United States faced a 42% increase in childhood ADHD diagnoses. And the mental health space (which ADHD is a part of) took off a few years ago. Venture capitalists invested $1.4 billion in Europe’s mental health sector in 2021, according to data from Dealroom, but investment fell to $354 million last year as VCs took their flight into the recession, more generally.

However, there is still a lot of activity. London-based HelloSelf matches patients with licensed therapists and covers a range of mental health conditions, including ADHD. In New York, Inflow, an app said to help members better manage ADHD through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)-based support, raised an $11 million Series A led by Octopus Ventures. Centered is a desktop app that provides AI voice coaches to help ADHD sufferers stay focused (with Pomodoro timers, calendar, etc.) and also offers “buddy sessions” between members and for coaches productivity and ADHD. Ukrainian-born startup Numo is an app for adults with ADHD that gamifies everyday tasks and gets help.
Healios has raised a £7m ($9.9m) Series A round to expand its platform across the UK.

Now there’s a Sidekick, the pitch of which is that it’s a “productivity browser.” Now it’s launching a host of features aimed at people with ADHD and distracted attention more generally.

Sidekick was a member of the Y Combinator 2020 cohort, and in March 2021 they raised $2 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins.

The company says users with ADHD noticed a “significant improvement” after using the browser. The Chromium-based browser was founded by Dmitry Pushkarev (a Stanford Ph.D. in molecular biology, former Amazon CEO and ADHDer)

So how does it work?

To cancel distractions, the browser integrates AdBlock 2.0; a focus mode timer disables all sounds, badges and notifications for a selected time or indefinitely; a Task Manager organizes your day; and there’s a built-in Pomodoro timer; it also claims to work 3x faster than Chrome, which apparently is important for ADHD sufferers. Suffice it to say, it has a number of other distraction-free features, however, I’m not going to list them all here.

CEO and Founder Dmitry Pushkarev said in a statement, “Modern browsers are not designed for work, but for consuming web pages. This gap really hurts hundreds of millions of users. We believe that reducing distraction on the web reduces anxiety and improves the quality of people’s work and the quality of their lives. »

He says the startup plans to earn money through corporate subscribers, who will pay to bring their workers with ADHD into a more productive mode.

Unfortunately for Sidekick, there are plenty of attention-grabbing competitors that hog browser space, including Arc, Brave, and Vivaldi.

That said, Sidekick’s focus (geddit?) on ADHD could give it a valuable niche, especially given the apparent pandemic of ADHD sufferers.


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