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About us

What's Monklee?

Monklee is an online marketplace that lets people participate in and moderate easy, fun, relaxing group activities

For participants

How does participating work?

Monklee was ideated by ADD-having, busy, stressed-out extravert Paul Russo. Pre-existing Monklee alternatives have tried to improve people’s mental health, engage them, and be conscious of their time, and, while many have checked some of these boxes, none have checked all three.

For this reason, we set out to do the unprecedented: check all the boxes. At a basic level, we’re a marketplace for relaxing activities, but we’re actually so much more than that. When conceptualizing Monklee, we put as much thought into maximizing our users’ engagement and fitting into their schedules as we did into helping them de-stress.​​​​

We surveyed potential users and took away three main things:

  1. Most people want to talk about their mental health—with their friends, family members, and significant others specifically—but don’t.

  2. Most people don’t know what mindfulness meditation is—the practice of being present—but don’t like what they think it is—sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor.

  3. Most people like to unwind in ways that are more hands-on than just breathing.

These takeaways—coupled with inspirations like the Harkness method, and an impromptu poetry society that Paul founded in high school and college—motivated us to make Monklee community-based, and limit the variety of our mindfulness meditation activities to the bounds of moderators’ imaginations.

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Furthermore, through conducting a few interviews with potential users, we learned that the biggest barrier to practicing mindfulness meditation for most people is the time commitment. Most people have some combination of a lack of time and patience that keeps them from attending yoga classes or learning Buddhist meditation techniques. For these reasons, our activities are designed to be brief and not have learning curves.​​​​

 We’re currently testing out stipulations for activities. Here are the ones for our closed alpha from March 29 to April 2:

  • Live: Sessions on Zoom

  • Time: 15 minutes-1 hour per session

  • Capacity: A maximum of 10 total participants and moderators per session

  • Informative: Moderators are qualified to and do give tips on their respective activities

  • Easy: Sessions require little to no preparation and no activity-specific prior experience

  • Fun: Activities are engaging

  • Relaxing: Activities make participants be present

  • Group: Activities incorporate group actions and/or discussions

We're asking the following of our closed alpha participants:​​

  • Register for and participate in at least 3 of our 10 sessions

    • Apply the promo code at check out—this is very important

    • Register for and participate in at least 1 session with each of our moderators, Paul and Ben

  • Schedule and complete a 15-minute interview with Paul or Ben between April 3 and April 6 to give us feedback

We’re currently only allowing people who’re participating in our closed alpha to register for activities. We’ll update this section when we start preparing for our open beta, which will last from April 12 to April 25.

We’re currently only allowing our closed alpha participants to register for activities. We’ll update this section when we start preparing for our open beta, which will occur between April 12 and April 25. Please subscribe to our newsletter if you’re interested in participating in our open beta or activities in the future.

We’re currently figuring out most of the technical stuff. We’ll update this section when we have more to report.

We’re currently focused on polishing our platform, not monetizing it. We’ll update this section when we’re ready to implement prices.

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For moderators

How does moderating work?

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Meet our team

Allow us to introduce ourselves

Paul Russo and Ben Brown are best friends, college roommates, and club soccer and intramural basketball teammates

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Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

Paul Russo

Paul is pursuing a Digital Computational Studies-English coordinate major, an Economics minor, and a Creative Writing concentration at Bowdoin College. He's an analytical and creative problem solver who possesses a tireless work ethic and hopes Monklee will make the world a better place.

Paul hails from Cortlandt Manor, New York, where he developed interests in sports and literature. During his free time, Paul enjoys working out, playing soccer, watching basketball, reading fiction, and free writing—his go-to relaxing activity.