Indian mental health app heyy bags pre-seed funding

Mental health startup heyy has raised $555,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by Wavemaker Partners, an early-stage institutional investor from Southeast Asia.

The investing round was also joined by angel investors, such as Sairee Chahal of Sheroes and Anjan Bhojarajan of HealthifyMe. 

WHAT IT DOES

Launched last year, the startup operates an app that provides preventive mental health care for individual consumers and corporate employees. It runs a network of psychologists – called Helpers – who are available round-the-clock to speak with users. 

Available on both Android and iOS devices, the heyy app also provides access to online therapy with therapists in multiple languages, such as English, Hindi, and Bengali. Moreover, it offers Lifebuoy that consists of short sessions of recordings and exercises to help users cope with personal or professional challenges.

WHY IT MATTERS

About one in seven people in India are dealing with mental health issues, which could cost the Indian economy an estimated $1 trillion by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. 

While digital therapeutics are increasingly available to fill in the gap in care access, these “come at the expense of a human connection,” said heyy founder Ankit Malhotra. It is for this reason that the startup has built a network of “Helpers” who provide an “anonymous, confidential, and safe space” where people can open up and talk about their personal issues. It has been heyy’s vision, said Malhotra, to keep mental health care “deeply human and personal” while making it accessible for many people. 

MARKET SNAPSHOT

In the midst of a pandemic that has brought with it many challenges that people have had to cope with, health tech companies InnerHour and Roche Diagnostics India stepped up to the plate to widen the access to mental health care for burned-out health professionals. The mental health startup teamed up with consumer goods company Godrej to provide free digital mental health services to doctors, nurses, and other health staff. Roche, on the other hand, developed the REACH wellness app that supports the mental health of healthcare workers. 

In other news, Indian cybersecurity consultant Panacea Infosec, together with human resource R&D firm Panacea Bioedge, partnered with US-based mental health firm Healmed Solutions to introduce an AI-powered platform in India. One of the features of the Panacea Healmed platform is a mental health assessment tool for employers which supports the self-management of employees’ mental wellbeing. 

ON THE RECORD

“About 14% of India’s population suffers from mental ailments and 80% of those affected do not receive treatment for over a year – a problem heyy looks to solve. heyy stood out as a preventive care solution that retains the empathetic, human aspect yet remains accessible and scalable, translating to the company’s record-high adoption and repeat rates,” said Gavin Lee, general partner at Wavemaker Partners.

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