Big Health raises $3.3M for US expansion, digital sleep program

By Aditi Pai
09:58 am

SleepioLondon-based digital health tool maker Big Health raised $3.3 million from Index Ventures and Forward Partners to expand into the United States. The company plans to open an office on the west coast.

The company's first tool, Sleepio, aims to help users fix their sleeping issues. Users are asked to take a sleeping test and then upload sleeping data from a fitness device, Jawbone UP, Fitbit, or BodyMedia tracker, if they have one. From there, Sleepio creates a personalized program for the user to follow. "The Prof", an online persona built into Sleepio, leads users through the program to help them learn cognitive behavioral techniques that will ideally improve their sleep schedules. The system also offers various tools including a daily schedule.

"Sleep is something that affects pretty much every aspect of our mental and physical wellbeing," cofounder Peter Hames told MobiHealthNews. "We have decades of evidence about these non-drug interventions to help overcome it, yet almost nobody can access anything but pills and self-help materials."

Hames started the company in part because when he was having sleep issues, his doctors would only prescribe him pills. It wasn't until he used a self-administered course from a self-help book, which he found very clunky and arduous to complete, that his sleep improved. With Sleepio, he aims to bring those practices into a mobile format and integrate information from digital health devices to help others achieve his same success.

"One way or another I am certain that tracking our health and wellness data is going to become a normal part of everyday life," Hames said. "And that data presents huge opportunities in terms of the connections we can develop which is not just tailored to individual profiles but also tailored to their moment-by-moment needs. And that's kind of what we're focused on at Big Health -- developing a next generation of behavior intervention with the exciting prospect of, for the first time, being able to deliver scalable evidenced-based interventions and build companies that are on a scale and size to rival big pharma, but that are non drug-based."

Sleepio's weekly plan costs $24.99 per week, but users can cancel at any time. The company also offers a 12-week course that costs $149 and a one-year plan that costs $249.

The company is currently collaborating with the University of Oxford to develop new sleep interventions.


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