Koa Health, a digital mental health company spun out of global telecoms company Telefonica, and previously known as Alpha Health, has raised $16.5 million (€14.1) in Series A funding, led by Ancora Finance Group and Wellington Partners. The raise coincides with Koa's launch as an independent company, with Telefonica remaining as a shareholder, customer and partner.
WHAT IT DOES
Koa Health offers a handful of app-based digital platforms built for employer, provider and insurer customers.
Chief among these is Foundations, a wellness-support app that includes evidence-based activities for managing stress and promoting relaxation among employees. According to the company, the app has so far reached more than 250,000 users through deployments among "dozens" of enterprises.
The company's other products include Mindset, offered through providers as a way to facilitate private chat-based mental health support; Perspectives, an in-development cognitive behavioral therapy coaching app for conditions such as OCD and body dysmorphic disorder; and Foresight, an in-development platform that uses artificial intelligence to predict higher-risk patients and help providers prioritize their care.
WHAT IT'S FOR
Koa's plans for these funds include increased R&D and clinical trials for its various platforms, and notes clinical research collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The company will also be expanding its reach across Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
"It is increasingly clear that digital technology has the potential to help close the growing demand gap in mental healthcare," Koa Health CEO Oliver Harrison said in a statement.
"However, the field has been limited by the inherent challenges of providing an integrated, evidence-based, ethical and personal solution that fits the needs of service users and customers. Because of Telefónica’s support, we have been able to deliver this solution. With this investment, Koa Health will expand internationally, invest more in clinical trials and continue to develop personalised products which meet the mental health needs of every individual."
Wellness apps and the virtual delivery of mental health services have been major focuses for the industry throughout the year, and likely will remain so as the COVID-19 pandemic runs headlong into the winter season. Major wellness apps like Headspace and Big Health received sizable venture capital investments in 2020, while Hims, Heal and other brands have expanded their services to include telepsychiatry and other mental health support.
ON THE RECORD
“Demand is set to dramatically accelerate for digital mental health services, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," Rainer Strohmenger, managing partner at Wellington Partners, said in a statement. "We see a clear opportunity for Koa Health to capitalise on this momentum and significantly improve access to high-quality care for individuals, as it builds a comprehensive portfolio of evidenced-based and personalised mental health products.”