In a recent development, Barcelona-based digital mental healthcare provider, Koa Health, has announced it closed an oversubscribed €30M Series A funding round … The company had raised the funds back in October 2020 and had also announced its spin-out from Alpha, Telefónica’s startup factory.
The raised capital will be used to boost Koa Health’s growth and expand its international footprint including the US.
Oliver Harrison, CEO of Koa Health says, “We know that there has been a greater demand for mental healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic as the stigma around mental health continues to decline. However, we still have a long way to go. At Koa Health, our mission is to deliver mental wellbeing for all. Access to mental healthcare is a human right that shouldn’t be buried by stigma, lack of access, or affordability. With this round of funding, we’ll be able to scale our digital mental health solutions and offer a personalised, more affordable, and effective solution for people to manage their mental health.”
The funds will enable the company to accelerate its product development, including expanding content for its digital mental wellness solutions, making programs available in additional languages, and expanding the diagnoses that Koa’s solutions can support.
News in Context:
Addressing the mental health crisis (Pharma Field):
Each day we find out more about the mental health effects of the pandemic. Early on, the Office for National Statistics found that one in five Britons reported symptoms of depression, compared with one in 10 before. And, according to a recent study led by the University of Nottingham and King’s College London, stress, anxiety and depression were all significantly higher in participants compared with ‘population norms’, with 64% of the participants reporting symptoms of depression and 57% reporting symptoms of anxiety… Through simple force of necessity, COVID-19 has prompted many people to explore the benefits of telehealth and digital therapeutics, from the comfort of their home. In fact, it’s estimated that the number of people using digital therapeutics and wellness apps will grow from 627 million in 2020 to more than 1.4 billion in 2025. I believe that clinicians and the public have realised that digital solutions can deliver high-quality healthcare, with lower barriers to access, and significant benefits in cost and time effectiveness.
But there is progress to be made. Digital mental health solutions, and the companies that provide them, must overcome some important hurdles to ensure better user experience. At present, very few mental health apps have study data. It’s critical that these are grounded in science, with activities being evidence-based. For example, we use the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness and positive psychology – all based on in-depth research. In addition, ethical practices must be rigorous, with more being done to ensure companies store and utilise data ethically and responsibly. This needs to go beyond simply complying with GDPR; digital mental health companies need to develop and implement their own ethical frameworks and ideally have them externally audited.
»> Ethics audit of Koa Health’s REM!X app HERE (opens PDF)