Artificial Intelligence (AI) meets Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Wysa raises $20M to scale up mental health chatbot

Wysa rais­es $20 mil­lion to expand its ther­a­pist chat­bot into a wider set of men­tal health ser­vices (TechCrunch):

Wysa, a pop­u­lar men­tal health app orig­i­nal­ly found­ed in India around an AI chat­bot that helps users talk through their feel­ings, has raised $20 mil­lion in a Series B fund­ing round to expand its busi­ness on the heels of hit­ting 4.5 mil­lion users in 65 countries.

The all-equi­ty round is led by India’s dig­i­tal health-focused ven­ture cap­i­tal fund HealthQuad, with par­tic­i­pa­tion also from British Inter­na­tion­al Invest­ment (BII), the U.K.’s devel­op­ment finance insti­tu­tion. The plan will be to use the mon­ey to dou­ble down on its home mar­ket as well as the U.S. and U.K, where it already has respec­tive­ly had approvals from the FDA and the Nation­al Health Ser­vice (NHS) and is used by the lat­ter as part of its online men­tal health services.

… “Typ­i­cal­ly, access to a men­tal health ser­vice is gat­ed. It is restrict­ed by some kind of diag­no­sis — say­ing only if you are severe enough you will be able to get to speak to a ther­a­pist because obvi­ous­ly ther­a­py is expen­sive and somebody’s got to pay for it,” he (Note: Ramakant Vem­pati, Wysa’s co-founder) said. In con­trast, he not­ed that the app offers “ear­ly engage­ment and a safe space where peo­ple can come in and anony­mous­ly just talk about what’s both­er­ing them.”

Vem­pati under­lined that Wysa works as a three-state solu­tion. The first part of it is avail­able to the mass­es as an AI chat offer­ing, where­as its sec­ond piece is more struc­tured help that is com­ing from human beings includ­ing coach­es, coun­selors and ther­a­pists on staff. The third part, he said, is what the com­pa­ny calls clin­i­cal programs.

The Announcement:

Wysa Secures $20m to Address Glob­al Men­tal Health Demand With AI Dig­i­tal Ther­a­peu­tics (press release):

… Wysa will use this cap­i­tal to fur­ther expand into the US, UK, India and oth­er glob­al mar­kets across enter­pris­es, pay­ors, providers as well as improve wider usabil­i­ty through mul­ti-lin­gual sup­port and eas­i­er access via What­sApp. The round is led by HealthQuad, who along with British Inter­na­tion­al Invest­ment (BII), the UK’s devel­op­ment finance insti­tu­tion, joins ear­li­er investors W Health Ven­tures, Kae Cap­i­tal, Google Assis­tant Invest­ments, and pi Ven­tures amongst oth­ers … Wysa uses AI (Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence) to triage users accord­ing to their per­son­al needs, guid­ing them through appro­pri­ate, evi­dence-based CBT (Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­a­py) exer­cis­es with­in the app, towards oth­er men­tal health ser­vices or cri­sis sup­port. Wysa’s plat­form pro­vides employ­ers and health ser­vices insights into usage rates of Wysa and dig­i­tal well-being tools, while main­tain­ing user privacy.

HealthQuad is India’s lead­ing dig­i­tal health-focused ven­ture cap­i­tal fund, with assets under man­age­ment of USD 200 Mn across two funds. Its focus is to nur­ture inno­v­a­tive mod­els which rad­i­cal­ly improve health­care access and afford­abil­i­ty by lever­ag­ing technology.

News in Context:

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SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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