UK’s first virtual psychology startup My Online Therapy raises $5.53M to help those waiting months for NHS therapy
A staggering one in four people in the UK will struggle with mental health in any given year, which can only put increasing pressure on the demand for psychological therapy. The wait time is only expected to get worse as one in four people in the UK struggle with their mental health in any given year, which can only put increasing pressure on the demand for psychological therapy. However, for many, visiting a therapist in person can be challenging due to life commitments, time constraints, or feelings of embarrassment, which is why there is a need to embrace technology and offer online therapy.
My Online Therapy is UK’s first virtual psychology startup on a mission to alleviate this problem by providing easier access to mental health services by connecting people with leading psychologists via video or web chat. Today, the startup announced it has secured $5.53M (£4.2 million) in funding to accelerate its mission to provide convenient, reasonably priced, high-quality care at the click of a button to those in the UK and beyond.The round was led by Lighthouse Investment Group.
This service will certainly be welcomed by Britons with mental health problems who are being left waiting months on end for NHS therapy. Almost 300,000 patients who qualified for therapy last year spent at least a month on a ‘hidden’ waiting list, with one in six left waiting longer than 90 days, between their first and second sessions.
The London-based startup, which was founded in 2018 by siblings Dr Elena Touroni and Vasileios Touronis, as well as Dr Tom Pennybacker and Elettra Bianchi Dennerlein, will use the funds to support its next phase of rapid growth. This will involve enhancing its customer operations, expanding its product and engineering teams to build in-app self-help therapy tools and psychological well-being skills, and expanding its B2C and B2B marketing.
Elettra Bianchi Dennerlein, co-CEO and co-founder of My Online Therapy said: “With psychological issues impacting so many people’s lives, My Online Therapy was established to provide easier access to mental health services. This £4.2 million in funding will accelerate our mission to provide convenient, reasonably priced, high quality care at the click of a button to those in the UK and beyond.
“By applying groundbreaking technologies, we plan to revolutionise the mental health space for those who have previously been restricted by salient barriers, such as cost, access and stigma, and we are excited to have the support of an incredible partner in the Lighthouse Investment Group.” All psychologists who work for My Online Therapy have been hand-picked, ensuring that clients have access to the very best HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered psychologists.
My Online Therapy provides the latest contemporary range of evidence-based therapies based on the client’s needs, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, and Schema Therapy. It also allows people to access a psychologist from the comfort of their own home and allows them to fit therapy sessions around work, home and family life.
Vasileios Touronis, Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder of My Online Therapy added: “Raising £4.2 million and reaching a post-money valuation of £18 million is a testament to 18 months of efforts and resources invested to build and design the infrastructure and industry-leading therapeutic approaches needed to offer unprecedented access to psychological wellness solutions.
“Global health and wellness is a £3.2 trillion industry and we believe that with this cash injection, we can build a leading company in this rapidly growing space which will change the way people think about their psychological health and dramatically improve their quality of life.”
How does the platform work?
My Online Therapy offers a bespoke service that is tailored to each individual and their needs. After completing a free online assessment, the platform matches you to the most appropriate therapeutic approach and the best psychologist for your situation. You can choose to follow this recommendation or you can choose from any of the psychologist profiles on the platform.
Next, the user will select the way they want to connect with the psychologist and receive therapy. They have three options: by video, live chat or daily messaging. The latter is a weekly subscription service, which allows you to send unlimited messages to your psychologist whenever and as often as you like and they will respond once a day with support and guidance. Prices for the video option range from £49 to £99, live chat costs a fixed fee of £49 and daily messaging costs £75 for a full week.