Former Starbucks Exec in Stealth Mode With New Senior-Focused Mental Health Tech Startup

Kris Engskov — a former White House aide turned Starbucks corporate exec and senior housing leader — is teasing the creation of a new mental health tech company.

Engskov announced on on Wednesday that he is building an unnamed health tech startup that is focused on “democratizing next-gen mental & behavioral healthcare & support for older adults & their families” to help them live at home longer and with better health.

The post also says that the American health system is not ready to care for the aging baby boomers, the largest generational cohort in the U.S. The aging of the baby boomers is often referred to as the Silver Tsunami.


Engskov said he is seeking licensed clinical social workers in Seattle and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners in Seattle and people who work in “ops, people/learning, product, finance” in “Seattle or remote.”

He has since changed the limited accessibility of the post to the public. His profile also shows that he started the role of co-founder and CEO for the senior-focused mental health tech company in November.

On Saturday, Engskov posted on LinkedIn that he was searching for “an exceptional human resources leader to join our new venture-backed mental & behavioral health start-up (currently in stealth) urgently building a new approach to caring for older adults with cognitive challenges.”


The human resources leader would have a foundational role in establishing culture and infrastructure at the company, the post reads. He also says that this HR leader also needs to have a deep passion for caring for adults.

“We believe there is no more noble mission than caring for people at this critical stage of their lives,” Engskov said. “We’re a passionate, impatient, slightly irreverent, people-obsessed group of optimists & doers intent on building a movement to take this challenge head-on.”

Engskov declined to comment on the matter, stating that it’s too early in the company’s development to discuss it.

Providing mental health services outside of the bounds of traditional health care settings to the senior population in the U.S. is a potentially vital opportunity for the behavioral health sector. In terms of Medicare only, $5 billion in behavioral health care spending could shift from being provided in facilities to being provided in seniors’ homes. Across all health care segments, an estimated $265 billion of health care spending for seniors could shift to the home.

Engskov began a career in the administration of now former Pres. Bill Clinton at the travel office in 1993. He rose to the role of president’s aide in December 1997 and left the White House in June 2000 to join Seattle-based telecoms and software investment firm Madrona Venture Group.

From 2003 to 2019, Engskov worked as an executive at Starbucks, leaving the company from the role of executive vice president of global business operations to become the president of Bellevue, Washington-based senior living company Aegis Living.

BHB sister publication Senior Housing News reported in September that Engskov was leaving to become the CEO of a home health company in stealth mode. It’s not clear if this senior-focused mental health tech company is the same venture as the home health company.

SHN reported that the unnamed home health venture was funded by ARCH Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that backs “disruptive science.”