Mental Healthcare AI Startup Wysa Raises $20M
Behavioral health conversational AI developer Wysa has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by HealthQuad. Wysa’s AI therapist interacts through a chatbot to offer cognitive behavioral therapy to patients dealing with depression and anxiety, especially when it stems from chronic pain.
Wysa’s HIPAA-compliant smartphone app provides on-call cognitive behavioral therapy through conversations with the AI. Cognitive behavioral therapy encourages self-aware efforts to replace unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving to improve psychological health. Wysa’s AI is supported by human counselors. People with depression and anxiety exacerbated by chronic pain have reported finding it useful in managing their mental health. A peer-reviewed clinical trial found that patients using Wysa matched those physically visiting real-world therapists in managing their pain and mental health. That study led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting Wysa Breakthrough Device Designation in May. The designation will smooth the path for Wysa to get FDA approval for the market as a medical device.
Wysa has conversed with more than 4.5 million users across 65 countries. The startup is particularly interested in building its business clientele among healthcare providers, counting companies like Accenture and Aetna International, as well as governmental agencies like the UK National Health Service (NHS) and Singapore’s Ministry of Health among its client. Voice-based therapy is also likely in the works as Wysa’s investors include Google via the Google Assistant Investment Program, and it was part of the initial AWS Healthcare Accelerator cohort.
“Wysa has not only been extremely successful as a consumer well-being platform but has also developed into a clinically validated, powerful tool to proactively manage mental health and well-being,” Wysa co-founder and president Ramakant Vempati said. “Wysa meets people where they are, whether that means a little help with occasional workplace stress, right up to coping with debilitating pain, depression and anxiety. With this funding, we look forward to scaling-up further and helping millions of more people.”
Wysa has converse with more than thee million users across more than 100 million conversations globally.