If the pandemic has been good for anything it’s been good for the therapy business and for startups targeting mental health, with VCs kept very busy signing checks. To wit, here’s another one: Madrid-based ifeel has bagged €5.5 million (~$6.6M) in Series A funding, led by Nauta Capital.
The startup was founded back in 2017 — initially as a consumer-focused therapy platform — but last year it pivoted to a hybrid business model, tapping into demand from businesses to offer staff emotional support during the public health crisis. So it’s available both to individuals via monthly subscription or as part of employer’s or insurance provider’s cover
It says that pandemic pivot has resulted in 1,000% growth in its B2B business.
Companies it’s signed up to offer its platform to their staff include AXA Partners, Glovo and Gympass.
“We have a total of 400,000 users on the platform (B2C and B2B),” says co-founder Amir Kaplan. “We have 100,000 eligible covered who have access to ifeel as a benefit (through our insurance and wellness partners or direct with ifeel).
“The 100,000 grew 10x from September 2020 and is the largest trend we are experiencing these days. Employees of 100 companies use ifeel on a weekly basis.”
ifeel’s platform delivers both live therapy sessions with licensed psychologists but also provides users with self-care tools such as daily mood trackers, recommended exercises and activities to expand the support available.
“By combining self-care and guided therapies, ifeel maximises engagement and retention of its users — with 90% reporting improved emotional and mental well-being after using ifeel,” it claims.
The startup is using AI technology in the self-care portion of its platform — to recommend “the most relevant” content or exercise to its users, per Kaplan. But he also says it’s looking at using the tech to assist the therapist practice by developing dedicated tools inside the platform.
ifeel has an international founding team, hailing from three countries (Israel, Italy and Mexico), and says its main markets so far are Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico. While its B2B and insurance network coverage extends to 20 countries and four languages (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese).
With so much competition in the mental health tools space — from mindfulness apps, to internet-delivered CBT programs, to therapy platforms — how does ifeel see itself standing out?
Kaplan suggests it has an advantage of being “global from Day One,” and also flags a “strong technology integration focus,” which he says has allowed it to plug into insurance companies and wellness players — to become a “main service provider.”
“Very early we partnered with global leading companies and we support them in many countries (compared to specific country players like in Germany and U.K.,” he tells TechCrunch. “The platform approach is different from ‘online therapy’ companies or ‘mindfulness apps.’
“We want our users to manage their emotional well-being on our platform no matter the need. In this way we create millions of engagement events that are customized to the user’s needs and allow users over time to use different parts of our platform in different life situations.”