Google-backed mental health app Wysa raises $20 million, to expand in US, UK
Wysahas raised $20 million in series B funding to expand its presence across India and international markets.
- It relies on AI-powered bot to help customers manage their anxiety, sleep or if they need to talk to a therapist.
- The seven-year-old start-up will also be hiring across business divisions in order to expand its business.
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The Series B funding round was led by HealthQuad, the company said on Thursday. British International Investment (BII) also participated in this round, along with existing investors
Founded in 2015 by Vempati and Jo Aggarwal, Wysa relies on AI-powered bot to help customers manage their anxiety, sleep or if they need to talk to a therapist. It also offers evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises within the app.
The company largely offers an enterprise solution to clients like Accenture Global, Aetna International, National Health Service (NHS) of England, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Ministry of Health in Singapore. Besides this, it also operates a freemium model for individual customers.
Expansion and hiring plans
The seven-year-old start-up will also be hiring across business divisions in order to expand its business. Vempati highlighted that AI has enabled Wysa to serve 4.5 million people across 65 countries with a team of only 100 people, and that the sort of “amplification” technology can bring.
“It’s helping address the demand-supply gap, which currently exists and is going to get much, much worse. And with things like Wysa, (it) is available at three in the morning if you want it and it can support millions and millions of people across the world,” Vempati noted, adding that India only has 10,000 therapists.
He noted that Wysa is not a replacement for therapy but rather an early-stage support that can augment therapy. It is now looking to expand to more clinic use-cases for patients with chronic pains and diseases. “That’s the three broad (use cases) — business development, clinical work and product,” he added.
Voice-based assistance is next
Wysa is also exploring possibilities to integrate its technology into voice-based communications with the help of Amazon and Google Assistant. Notably, Wysa is one of Google Assistant’s first investments in Asia and was also a part of Google Launchpad Accelerator India in 2018. It was also a part of AWS Healthcare Accelerator launched earlier this year.
Advertisement“We already have a deep partnership with Google. Google has been a huge source of support for us, not just in terms of funding. We were also part of the Amazon Accelerator and one of the things we are exploring with folks like Amazon is they have a huge interaction and movement towards voice,” Vempati said, emphasizing that there were many challenges that needed to be addressed before moving in the voice-based assistance direction.
“All this is at an early stage, so I can’t say anything for sure,” he said.
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