The Humegy Corporation Story

The Humegy Corporation Story

Claris Castillo Singh, CEO and Founder

Picture: The healing well of our home in Cary, North Carolina.

 

We were recently named finalists of the prestigious Amber grant for April, “Distinguished Business Winner 2023”, and “Meritorius Business Grant Winner.” This is a summary of our story.

Before the pandemic, I launched Humegy Corporation after working for 12+ years in technology and cloud computing research. My aim was to develop technology solutions that could help boost people’s mental health and well-being by bridging the gap between them and nature. My renewed purpose drove this entrepreneurial journey to align my career with my passion for the environment and make the world a better place. However, as the pandemic hit and remote work became the new norm, I fell ill with symptoms that limited my mobility. This made me feel more isolated within my house, where I had to help my two young children (a kindergartener and a 2nd grader) with virtual school. During this time, I realized that I had been without my only coping mechanism – my daily four-mile walk on the greenway around my neighborhood in North Carolina. So, I started increasing my indoor plant collection until my living room started looking like a tropical forest. I began tending to my plants early in the morning before my family woke up and interacting with them throughout the day. Indoor plants became my primary source of healing and well-being as I waited for my symptoms to subside and for my kids to return to school.

During those early days of the pandemic, I discovered the therapeutic benefits of indoor plants. This realization led me to found Humegy Corporation, an organization that initially catered to the corporate market. During my research, I came across  “nature-based interventions” (NBIs) – strategies that involve engaging individuals in nature-based experiences to achieve improved health and well-being. I learned that NBIs had gained popularity during the pandemic as more healthcare professionals prescribed activities like walks in the woods and birdwatching to help boost their patients’ mental health. Governments in countries like the United States, Canada, and the UK also recognized the importance of NBIs and allocated funds to increase access to green environments and outdoor spaces nationwide. 

However, I also discovered that all NBIs focused on outdoor settings, which left people with physical disabilities and those who lived far from green spaces at a disadvantage. In the US, underserved communities have 44% less access to green parks compared to their more privileged counterparts. Additionally, 36 million Americans with physical disabilities are unable to walk or climb, which disproportionately affects poorer communities. As a result, many individuals are missing out on the powerful healing benefits that nature experiences can provide.

The rest of my journey is now history. My primary goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status or physical abilities, has access to the health benefits of nature. I rolled up my sleeves and created PhyBe. Together with a co-founder, engineers, business, accounting, and legal experts, we developed a habit-building product and app that utilizes indoor plants to help people improve their mental health and well-being. We filed a patent for our invention and are currently working on executing a multi-year product launch plan, which will ultimately benefit society and our world.

PhyBe’s value proposition is its ability to seamlessly integrate plant care into the user’s daily routine, bringing their attention to the present moment through plants, and promoting mindfulness while improving overall well-being. The product integrates knowledge from environmental psychology, habit-building technology, and mental health to transform the lives of people living away from nature. We believe that this new product will offer subtle yet consistent engagement with plants, which will help users lead a more mindful and healthy life.