Online counselling startup InnerHour raises US$450K from VentureWorks and more

Mumbai-based online counseling platform, InnerHour has raised US$450,000 in a seed investment from financial advisory Batlivala & Karani Securities, investment firm Venture Works and others.

Commenting on the investment, Keshav Sanghi, the founder of VentureWorks India said, “What differentiates InnerHour from others is that the two founders have many years of experience. Most startup founders are tech savvy but may not know the core business.”

Founded in November 2015 by Amit Malik and Shefali Batra, the InnerHour platform runs under MindCresent Wellness Ventures Pvt Ltd. and offers online psychological and therapy services on both mobile and desktop platforms.

Amit Malik is a psychiatrist who specialises in geriatric medicine and holds an MBA from the London School of Business. He has previously led the mental health team that provided care to older adults for the NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey, UK and has advised healthcare clients at Allegro Capital Advisors, an investment bank.

While another co-founder Dr, Shefali Batra is a psychiatrist, counsellor, cognitive theraphist and wellness consultant. She founded Mindframes, a wellness clinic and online counselling, psychological testing and training setup in Mumbai.

“Two factors led to the creation of Innerhour – there is a stigma attached to seeking mental health in our country and the need for mental health is massive,” said Amit Malik, the Founder and CEO of InnerHour.

“Tech confers a degree of anonymity, so those worried about stigma feel more confident in seeking support. We are very heavily focused on creating content and programmes around mental health and our plan is to also create anonymised communities where people can get peer support,” he further adds.

InnerHour’s team houses experienced healthcare expert psychologists, who offer both free and paid counseling, as well as experienced healthcare management professionals.

The company claims to have a total of 65,000 visits so far and an active engagement with 30,000 clients since its inception. “It’s our phase one- we are getting people comfortable with the idea of psychological help,” said Batra.

For its next step, InnerHour wants to work with institutions and create customised platforms for corporates, allowing employees to engage with and seek psychological support anonymously.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Japanese therapeutic application CureApp secures US$3.38 million from SBI, Keio and Beyond Next

Tokyo-based therapeutic application CureApp, on Monday, has announced that it has secured a fundraising round worth 380 million yen (about US$3.38 million) led by existing investor Beyond Next Ventures along with the participation of Keio Innovation Initiative and SBI Investment.

With the latest capital, the firm intends to enhance its research and development system in order to realise a personalised disease treatment mobile application, as well as to progress the utilisation of ICT and AI for medical care and nursing care in Japan. This financing round also follows the procurement of a 100 million yen (about US$8.9 million) from Beyond Next Ventures back in October 2015.

Founded in July 2014 by Dr. Satake Kota and Shin Suzuki, CureApp, Inc. is a MedTech venture that aims to leverage on the evolution of mobile technology to develop a medical app that exhibits therapeutic effects against diseases as a form of new medical treatment.

The company has launched a nicotine addiction treatment app jointly developed with the Division of Pulmonary Medicine from the Keio University’s School of Medicine. The smoking cessation app, launched in February 2015, is currently conducting clinical trials in many locations.

In addition, CureApp had also jointly developed a NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis remedy) treatment app with the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Tokyo, which is currently under the clinical trial process as well. NASH is a form of hepatitis caused by obesity or diabetes and is one of the typical lifestyle diseases treatable by improving dietary habits.

Besides, a participant of the Hiyaku Next Enterprise program, an innovation encouragement program sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, CureApp also plans a horizontal spread of medical apps for the treatment of other lifestyle diseases including diabetes, depression and lung cancer which has been difficult to intervene so far.

CureApp is also seeking a way to expand its business to the United States through cooperation with local medical institutions. As having the apps approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration after clinical trials would make global development possible.

The CureApp series of mobile apps can be downloaded from the iTunes AppStore and Google Play, but due to the nature of these applications, they are premised to be used under the guidance of an affiliated medical institution.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media