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Wysa secures investment to increase global mental health support

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AI-powered mental health platform Wysa has announced a $5.5million Series A financing round to support its ongoing expansion.

The investment, led by W Health Ventures, a Boston-based digital health investor, alongside the Google Assistant Investment programme and existing investors pi Ventures and Kae Capital, will support Wyse in its offering to employers who want to expand their mental health benefits, as well as to scale up Wysa’s sales team and therapist network.

“We are impressed with Wysa’s uncompromising clinical safety and unparalleled patient-centricity. It maintains a near-perfect rating from approximately 100,000 reviews resulting from over 100 million conversations,” says Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Executive Vice President at W Health Ventures.

“As we enter the second year of the pandemic, so many people are struggling and seeking mental health support. Wysa is an example of how technology is helping millions of people access everyday mental health support and self-care tools without being gated by a clinical diagnosis. We are thrilled to deepen our relationship to support Wysa’s next phase of growth.”

Wysa’s internal data shows that 60 per cent of the working population falls into the “missing middle” of mental health. People struggle with negative thoughts, anxiety, isolation or sleep issues, but they want to work on improving their situation themselves rather than seeking clinical support. Through Wysa’s platform, people can access a clinically approved, responsive, AI-guided safe space that listens like a person, and scales like a product.

The business reports that users open up to Wysa in just a few messages, and complete cognitive restructuring (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mindfulness and coaching exercises in just five to ten minutes. Over 90 per cent of users say Wysa helps them feel better after just one session, and over 75 per cent of users have more than five sessions.

Many large employers have some combination of mindfulness support and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). However, it is hard to tell if this is helping employees, and even harder to tailor this to any specific concerns they may have, especially during the pandemic. Wysa customises its support to employee needs, fits around existing resources, and gives employees complete anonymity as they work through their issues.

In addition, for those who want to work through specific issues, Wysa offers daily support from a dedicated wellbeing coach. For organisations, Wysa maintains employee anonymity yet gives real-time population-level insights and benchmarks related to their employees’ mental wellbeing. It also broadens the base of people who access EAP, by engaging them early and guiding them to EAP resources when self-care is not enough.

For large organisations, such as Accenture and Aetna International, Wysa’s solution is unique in its ability to integrate with their existing resources. This year, as Accenture rolled out Wysa to 500,000 employees across 53 countries, wellbeing managers were able to access insights for each country and create custom pathways to in-country EAP and wellness resources.

The Wysa platform is now being used by 20 enterprise partners around the world and has facilitated over 100 million conversations with more than three million users.

“When organisations roll out Wysa, what surprises them is the insight they get about usage, while still maintaining employee privacy. For example, most people start with group meditations or sleep routines, and about 30 to 40 per cent need help with negative thoughts and emotions,” says Wysa co-founder and CEO Jo Aggarwal.

“For the first time, employers use data to understand how the mental wellbeing of their employees is constantly changing, and how it compares against benchmarks. Today, every employer is looking for a solution that goes beyond traditional EAP. This investment allows us to bring the next generation of workforce wellbeing solutions to organizations across the country.”

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