The funding will be used to rapidly scale mental healthcare access, grow product, engineering and commercial teams, and expand presence across Asia.
Asia’s largest and fastest-growing mental health startup, Intellect, announced in January the closing of US$10 million in Series A funding, bringing total funding to US$13 million since launching in 2020. This is the largest Series A ever raised by a mental health startup in Asia.
The oversubscribed round was led by New York-based HOF Capital, and welcomed new investors including Headline, East Ventures, MS&AD Ventures, DG Daiwa Ventures, Pioneer Fund, as well as existing investor Insignia Ventures Partners. Other notable angel investors this round included Shopback Co-founder & CEO Henry Chan, Cathay Innovation’s Rajive Keshup, former Headspace VP of Engineering Neel Palrecha, Co-founder of US unicorn Forge Samvit Ramadurgam, Peak Co-founder Sagi Shorrer, Snap Inc. Director of SEA Anubhav Nayyar, Tinder & Match Group GM of SEA Gaurav Girotra, along with family office funds of billionaire founders.
“It is very clear that there is [a] growing demand for mental healthcare in Asia that will surge even higher in the new normal. At the same time, existing mental health benefits and mental healthcare systems are under-equipped to service this surging need at scale,” states Theodoric Chew, Co-founder & CEO of Intellect. “Intellect goes beyond supporting workforces, going deeper into our broader vision of building an entirely new mental healthcare system tailored specifically afor Asia. We’re honoured to be leading this charge with the support of investors and partners.”
“To massively scale our offerings across Asia, we’re now hiring across our product, engineering, and commercial teams, as well as building our presence in key markets.”
The latest funds will be used to rapidly scale its offerings, team, and expand across Asia, growing Intellect’s customers and network of behavioural health coaches and clinical therapists. Intellect has over 3 million users, provider coverage in 20 countries, and is available in 15 languages. The funding will also be used to grow the company’s product offering to serve the entire spectrum of mental healthcare, from self-care programmes to live counselling, coaching, and crisis management care.
Intellect also saw its year-on-year revenue surge by over 20 fold in 2021, with a major uptick in enterprise clients signing on to its corporate mental health benefits solution – such as foodpanda, Shopback, Singtel, Kuehne & Nagel, and Schroders, amongst others – cementing itself as one of the largest and fastest-growing mental health startups in Asia.
These clients adopt Intellect regionally or globally and achieve best-in-class employee adoption rates of 20 to 40 per cent consistently, 10 times higher than traditional employee assistance programmes and two to three times higher than other mental health platforms. Intellect also partners with leading insurers and global benefits brokers across Asia, such as Mercer, to offer mental health solutions on a much larger scale.
Intellect offers an end-to-end, 24/7 mental healthcare system in a single app. It has a mental health benefits solution for employers that features clinical-based digital therapy programmes along with telehealth services, connecting employees to a panel of licensed coaches and clinical therapists within minutes.
The company also has a consumer version of the app, which offers an introductory mental wellbeing platform, carrying self-guided cognitive behaviour therapy programmes.
Along with driving wide-scale adoption of mental health benefits across workforces, Intellect is also successfully driving a new market and behavioural change of first-time users and employees to a personal mental health routine in Asia, a region where mental health has been rapidly evolving but has been historically heavily stigmatised. The solution, while end-to-end and also covering clinical needs, has a significantly larger focus on the proactive end of the mental health spectrum to serve the cultural nuances of Asia. This includes self-guided skill-building lessons and bite-sized “rescue sessions” to deal with stressful emotions.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the global mental health crisis, with close to one-third of Asia’s remote workers admitting that the pandemic has increased burnout at work. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health issues cost the global economy US$1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
Cognizant of COVID-19’s impact on the workforce, employers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) are redefining employee care, enhancing their healthcare and wellbeing programmes, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey. Two in five APAC employers planned to enhance mental health services and stress or resilience management while a quarter will prioritise providing access to affordable and high-quality mental health services. More than 80 per cent of organisations have promoted EAP and online mental health services for employees during the pandemic.
Intellect currently has over 10 clinical studies underway in collaboration with leading universities and institutions, namely the National University of Singapore (NUS), King’s College London, University of Queensland, and the Singapore General Hospital. Several of their studies show improvements in stress, anxiety, and depression levels of members who utilise Intellect’s programmes. The clinical team is headed by their newly appointed Clinical Director Dr. Oliver Suendermann, formerly the Director of Clinical Psychology at the National University of Singapore, who is a recognised expert in the field of clinical psychology in Asia.
“We witnessed how impeccably fast Theodoric and the Intellect team managed to successfully execute their vision to build and scale their clinically-backed mental health platform across Asia at breakneck speed, through an extremely in-depth understanding of the space and region’s nuances. The need for mental health support is exceedingly timely today and it continues to rapidly grow in demand across the world. Intellect has grown to over 3 million users and now serves enterprises across 20 countries in just under two years. We’re very excited to back them for the long term as they continue to transform millions of lives through inventing a new mental healthcare system for workforces and individuals across Asia,” said Victor Wang, Partner at HOF Capital. [APBN]