A new digital mental health care startup has launched in the U.S. with the help of $16.5 million in Series A funding.
The company in question is Koa Health, a provider of digital mental health services to employers and health systems. Back in late October, it spun out of Alpha, which is a moonshot factory of the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónicawhich.
CEO Oliver Harrison says a spinoff was always part of the company’s plan to grow and scale in order to make its services more widely available.
“There can be some constraints around being in a corporate incubator, culturally and in terms of business processes,” Harrison told BHB. “Being independent gives us freedom to operate. Secondly, Telefonica is great at running a telephone company, but they recognize that … this is non-core for them. New shareholders bring capital but also critical expertise.”
Koa Health found that new capital and expertise in Ancora Finance Group and Wellington Partners, who led the recent $16.5 million funding round.
Acora has experience taking companies through various stages of growth, while Wellington brings to the table deep knowledge in health care, including in the digital space where Koa Health operates.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Koa Health will use the new funding to expand operations across Europe and the U.S., scale clinical trials and boost R&D into personalization.
Ultimately, the company’s mission is to help people improve their mental health. Given the behavioral health clinician shortage in the US, Harrison sees ample opportunity to achieve that goal across the nation.
“I’ll give you one example,” he said. “Our first clinical application is really looking at body dysmorphic disorder. … There are 30 states across the US that don’t have any credentialed clinicians able to treat that, and that’s the kind of disparity that we really want to address.”
That app, which it developed with Massachusetts General Hospital, is called Koa Perspectives, and it’s pending approval from the FDA. Additionally, Koa Health is already equipped with apps for two types of clients: employers and health care systems.
For employers, Koa Health has an app called Koa Foundations, which focuses on wellness and prevention. It allows companies to give employees access to digital activities to reduce stress, improve sleep, promote relaxation and more.
Meanwhile, for health care systems, there’s Koa Mindset, which helps clinicians triage patients.
“We simply do not have enough clinicians to go around,” Harrison said. “We want to be able to work with existing healthcare systems … to make each clinician, using a hybrid model, able to treat 10 times or 20 times the number of patients.”
When it comes to what makes Koa Health different from the other digital behavioral solutions on the market — many of whom have also scored impressive financing amid the pandemic — Harrison said it comes down to four factors.
Koa Health’s solutions are integrated, evidence-backed, personalized and able to capture data ethically, he said. He’s excited to spread those solutions across the U.S.
“We want everyone across the United States to have access to accessible, high quality, affordable mental health solutions,” Harrison said.