Startup Big Health believes individuals can improve their mental health through its technology that focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy versus medication or the help of human therapists.
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On Thursday it raised $39 million in a Series B financing to advance that objective.
Its two digital offerings, Daylight, for worry and anxiety, and Sleepio, for poor sleep, are fully automated cognitive and behavioral programs.
“We are taking proven cognitive behavioral therapies and fully automating them to deliver the care scalably and consistently as drugs,” Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO, told Crunchbase News. “Clinical studies show these kinds of products are just as effective as medication and people.”
Gilde Healthcare led the new round of funding joined by co-lead Morningside Ventures, as well as Samsung NEXT and existing investors Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Octopus Ventures. The new funding gives San Francisco-based Big Health a total raise of $54.3 million since the company was founded in 2010.
As part of the investment, Glide General Partner Janke Dittmer and Morningside Partner Isaac Cheng will join Big Health’s board.
The company last fundraised four years ago, a $15 million Series A round, and said since then, Big Health has acquired company clients, such as Target, Comcast and Home Depot. Such clients offer the fully reimbursable platform to its employees, Hames said.
Then in June 2019, Big Health announced a partnership with CVS Health to streamline customer adoption of its digital therapeutics, bringing Sleepio into CVS pharmacy’s benefit management formulary, which simplifies employer sign-up and reimbursement.
Meanwhile, the new funding will be used to accelerate commercial growth and rapidly expand the product set to solve different problems, Hames said. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is meant to be administered for a short period of time, and a Big Health study showed that 18 months after using the platform, a vast majority of people were still healthy and their health care costs were lower, on average, by $1,600.
“Fully automated is the direct answer to helping people quickly,” he added. “We teach you to be your own therapist and equip you with the skills you need.”
In March, the company began offering its products free for employers to pass on to employees to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hames said. In 12 weeks, the company’s users grew four times as 70 organizations came in, he said.
“We’ve done the groundwork, collected the data and made sure our products were safe,” Hames said. “Now that all of that is in place, we have the foundation to accelerate toward our goal of helping millions.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias