MARCo Technologies LLC. founding partners Jacob Boyle and Ryan Chiu had a lot in common before going into business together. They were both captains in their college fencing club, avid musicians, yet the one commonality that brought them closest was the one that was hardest to talk about: both had parents who suffered from severe depression. So, in Fall of 2017, when they entered into an annual business plan competition hosted by The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), the effect mental illness had on their personal lives stuck with them, and thus they decided to create a product that would help the ones they loved. It was then that, MARCo: the Mentally Assistive Robotic Companion, was born.
Since its formation in February of 2018, MARCo Technologies LLC.’s mission has been simple: to improve the quality and accessibility of mental healthcare for all by introducing a line of compassionate robotic companions. MARCo, its patent-pending flagship product, is the first of a generation. Currently, the company has developed two editions of MARCo: “MARCo-Vanilla”, which is a general emotional and mental wellness tool design for stress relief, self-esteem management, and assisting anyone (whether with a mental illness or not) with his/her mental and emotional wellbeing; “MARCo-Rx” is the prescription edition of MARCo that can treat depression, general anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder in a clinical setting. Due to its direct usage as a medical device, MARCo-Rx will need to be cleared by the FDA before it can be sold in the US. MARCo-Vanilla, however, will be available to early adopters by September, 2019, will be for sale to anyone by January, 2020 at the latest.