Mental health app maker Happify raises $5M to build out employee wellness business

By Heather Mack
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New York-based Happify, which makes a mental health assessment platform available via an app or website, has raised $5 million in a new round of funding that will allow the startup to expand its staff and focus on creating partnerships with health plans and large employers with a new arm of the company, Happify Health.

Happify provides app or web-based programs that act as readily available check-ins for emotional health and wellbeing. The platform offers more than 60 programs comprised of topics ranging from resilience and mindfulness to depression and anxiety, plus programs to help people deal with the secondary stress from chronic physical conditions. Now, Happify will focus on bringing these into the workplace.

“As employers roll out their portfolios of solutions, the emotional side should be offered as well, and from there, you aren’t stigmatizing people,” Happify President Ofer Leidner told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been so good as employers about caring for the physical health side, and the mental health side has been quite neglected and is built on a crisis mode approach.”

With Happify Health, Leidner said the company aims to be an affordable, accessible mental health offering at a time when the importance of well-being and happiness is becoming increasingly recognized in corporate environments. 

“In the past year and a half as we have rolled out Happify, we’ve been focusing on delivering interventions around health and wellbeing, and we’ve got a lot of features from large national health plans and Fortune 500 companies,” he said, pointing to the recent promotion of Happify board member Dr. Andrew Sekel to chairman as a key factor in expanding the enterprise business.

“Andy really pushed us and said our approach needs to be one of addressing the problem of access and availability,” Leidner said.
The company says it is already working with one large national health plan and a handful of large employers, but couldn’t reveal any of its current business-to-business customers. It plans too announce its health plan customer soon, and will also be announcing new hires of healthcare executives.

The app is designed for use about two or three times per week. According the company’s own data, people tend to use the site for about 14 minutes in a session and the app for five minutes. Leidner said the company’s primary goal is to address employees’ emotional health and wellbeing needs through digital tools they can access any time, any place, even during work.

“If they are going to see a specialist, that’s once a week for 50 minutes, but what happens in between? What happens if I leave a meeting with a boss and I’m really stressed?” said Leidner. “Well, we designed the platform so people can interact in small doses whenever they need it."