Real, a mental health app, has raised a $37 million oversubscribed Series B. The round was led by Owl Ventures, with participation from former Cityblock CEO Iyah Romm and chief health officer Dr. Sylvia Romm. Returning investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Female Founders Fund, Forerunner Ventures and BBG Ventures.
This brings Real’s total funding to $53 million since it was founded in 2019 by CEO Ariela Safira. TechCrunch last covered Real when it raised its Series A earlier this year.
Safira told TechCrunch that the new funding round will enable Real to expand its platform and add more resources, therapists and Pathways, or the comprehensive therapist-created programs about mental health issues that are the app’s core feature. User subscriptions start from $13 a month.
The company also creates diverse content for different communities, including LGBTQIA+, immigrants and people of color. Safira said Real is using its funding to continue building a culturally diverse therapist base. For example, Real hosts events, which can be viewed live or as recordings, and have included topics like “Opting Out of Explaining Oppression to the Oppressor.”
Pathways, which address issues like relationships, anxiety, careers, stress, body image and depression, are Real’s main feature. Each consists of multiple sessions, with educational information (for example, the Pathway about depression describes how it can present both emotionally and physically). At the end of each session, users are prompted to complete exercises from Real’s toolkit. For example, in its depression Pathway, this includes journaling questions and breathing exercises.
One of Real’s unique features is that it takes two days to unlock each Pathway session. Safira said that one of the most requested features is to reduce the wait time between Pathway sessions, which was previously seven days.
“From a clinical standpoint, we believe that an unlock speed of two days allows for time and space to practice behavior change we aim for, while also ensuring the clinical safety of our members,” she explained.
Safira said that Real’s clinical team and learning and design production team spent the past 15 months building, testing and iterating its Pathways to enhance clinical efficacy and user retention. Each therapist is vetted through a hiring process, with a 4.7% acceptance rate.
Real also has one of the most comprehensive mood trackers I’ve seen in a mental health app. Called Real Pulse, it logs how you feel about your motivation, anxiety, mood, energy, optimism, self-esteem, purpose, gratitude, belonging, relationships and productivity. Users are prompted to use Real Pulse once a month to see changes over time.
“This type of tracking empowers members to engage more deeply with their mental health,” Safira said. “We know this because we built the Real Pulse with our members, reading feedback, conducting user interviews, all to learn what people want, how people feel, and how to build the best mental health tracking experience for them.”
In a prepared statement, Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Nicole Quinn said, “As an early believer in Ariela and Real’s success, we’re proud to expand our investment in Real’s Series B fundraise. As a board member for the last year, I can say Real is one of the few companies in this space building their foundation on clinical research and using that to inform building a truly innovative care model.”