Developer Spotlight: Seedlings App Helps Those Struggling with Depression


Created by a team of high school students this summer, users of iOS game Seedlings ( “feed” their young sapling positive affirmations every day and watch their plant grow as a result.

By combining a game aspect into a mental health app, Seedlings hopes to give teens and young adults not only the opportunity, but the incentive to take care of their own mental health and explore who they are and the person they want to be. Through the positive affirmation, the user will have a more positive mindset as the virtual character, Seedling, grows.

Today the Leadbolt team got personal with the app development team to learn more about their path to becoming mobile app entrepreneurs.

How did this clever mental health app come about?

The mobile app was created and designed by the seven students who attended a high school entrepreneurship program called LeanGap in Boston this summer for six weeks. All members of the team are currently attending different high schools across the USA with the exception of three members living outside the United States. They formed a team who was passionate about creating change for people who had been or are currently going through depression, although the app is applicable for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy mindset and set positive goals.

Where is the team based and how big is your company?

Seedlings is a team of eight people: Jaxon is from Canada, Zack is from Singapore, Jonathan is from Sweden, and Christina, Haylee, Justin, Shirley and Daphne are located across the United States from California to Maine.

Who uses the app?

Our target audience consists of 12-22 year old females from Vietnam and the United States. Seedlings is available only on iOS at the moment, but plans for an Android version are underway.

What triggered/inspired the creation of your mobile app?

Most of the members of Seedlings either once had or are currently struggling with depression themselves, so we all understand the potential social impact of an app that could help treat youth who face the same mental battle. Our founder experimented with password therapy throughout her childhood, and eventually realized the scientific legitimacy behind it as a method of strengthening one’s mindset. Inspired by this, she wanted to create a mental health app that both provides users with an incentive to take care of their mental health and can be thoughtlessly implemented into their daily lives. Therefore, Seedlings was born and is continuing to grow today.

What was your first major challenge with app development and how did you go about overcoming it?

Our first challenge was definitely deciding the design theme for the game. There were many discussions in the beginning, from making the design very minimalistic and simple to making the plant realistic or into a cartoon character. Through multiple prototypes and collaboration, we decided that it was best for us to create a cute plant pet that the users would feel they want to take care of.

How did you go about getting your app discovered by new users?

Our team put a great amount of effort to use social media, especially Facebook, to not only display Seedlings as a game character, but a personality. After, we were able to use our strong follower base to announce the launch of our app.

How does your app generate revenue?

Seedlings uses a combination of in-app purchases and online merchandise via our website to generate revenue. Users can buy more coins to unlock more characters. We are currently in the process of implementing this stage into our new version. We also use Leadbolt Direct Deals Marketplace to find best matched ad-campaigns to run.

Do you see any trends happening that you think will impact mobile app developers?

People love to be able to use apps to help them at particular tasks that improve their lives. In the future we believe apps will not only solve small issues that people face but contribute to much greater aspects of everyone’s life.

What’s your one piece of advice or life lesson to developers starting out?

Embrace failure if the first app you launch does not succeed. This is important because often the best apps come from past failures.

What’s next for the Seedlings development team?

As for now, Seedlings is focusing on spreading the app to more teens around the world and gaining more active users. As for what the future holds, we are in the process of finding new talented designers and developers interested in helping out and planning on expanding the Seedlings persona by making merchandise available for purchase on our website. We are also implementing new features in the app, such as more characters/stages, positive phrases, backgrounds, as well as the ability to make a collection, connect with friends, and mute the music (although we do believe this won’t be necessary).

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MarketingDeveloper Spotlight: Seedlings App Helps Those Struggling with Depression