Joyable raises $8M for remote social anxiety coaching and online therapy

By Brian Dolan
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Joyable QuizSan Francisco-based Joyable raised $8 million led by return backers Thrive Capital and Harrison Metal for its online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and coaching program for social anxiety. Joyable tells MobiHealthNews this round brings the company's total funding up to more than $10 million. It also includes money from a new investor, Collaborative Fund.

The $8 million will help the company, among other things, develop its first native mobile app, increase its marketing reach, and allow it to explore other conditions that could benefit from a digital CBT plus coaching approach -- like depression.

The company says more than 15 million people in the US are affected by social anxiety, and the National Institute of Mental Health has reported that 85 percent of people dealing with it have not received adequate treatment for it. Joyable says that's typically because the usual out-of-pocket expenses that traditional treatment would carry can be cost-prohibitive, or there isn't a provider trained to help them in their local area, or because the social anxiety itself makes it difficult to meet with a therapist in the first place. 

Joyable CEO and Co-founder Pete Shalek told MobiHealthNews his team are big admirers of Omada Health, which has taken a proven protocol -- in its case DPP for people with pre-diabetes -- added coaches and created a digital version of it that, Shalek argues, is more delightful and scalable. Shalek says Joyable is doing the same thing for social anxiety and it hopes to do the same for other mental health conditions like depression and PTSD.

Unlike Omada, Joyable is pursuing a direct-to-consumer business model for now, Shalek said, but he does see a huge opportunity for Joyable among self-insured employers. Social anxiety takes a big toll on workforce productivity. While there are various packages available, the program runs about $99 a month.

Joyable's newest investor, seed fund Collaborative Fund, previously backed two digital health startups that have since been acquired: Massive Health (Jawbone) and Sessions (MyFitnessPal) as well as other digital health companies like Iodine and Sherpaa.