Mentra. is a Charlotte, North Carolina–based startup, whose three co-founders are all autistic, is building what it describes as an AI-powered “neuroinclusive employment network.” Specifically, its tech platform leverages artificial intelligence to help large enterprises hire employees with cognitive differences such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The startup’s unique premise caught the early attention of OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, who first invested in the company with a $1 million pre-seed investment in February 2022 through his venture firm, Hydrazine Capital. Mentra also won an AI for accessibility grant from Microsoft. Shine Capital led its $3.5 million seed round this year, which also included participation from Altman’s fund, Verissimo, Full Circle, Charlotte Fund, as well as angel investors, including David Apple and Dawn Dobras.