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PsycApps Raises £1.5m Seed Funding to Fuel Growth of Gamified Mental Health Interventions

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by Startacus Admin


Investment success for PsycApps to help it scale and further develop eQuoo, its innovative mental health platform and game.

/Logo_HighRes_Color.Good news from PsycApps, the UK-based developer of the evidence-based mental health game for teens and young adults, eQuoo, that we've previously featured here on Startacus. The company has just announced  that it has raised £1.5m in seed funding from US-based Morningside Ventures. The funds will enable PsycApps to grow its team and accelerate the development of its mental health platform to address the roughly 50 per cent of teens and tweens who self-report struggling with one or more mental health issues. 
The funding news follows a recent report from Frontiers in Psychiatry that describes low engagement and attrition from digital mental health applications as the field’s Achilles heel. PsycApp’s platform offers an accessible, scalable, and sticky mental health intervention that gives higher education institutions the ability to impact students’ mental health positively.
Recognising the unmet needs of hundreds of thousands of students in the UK alone for evidence-based prevention and intervention programs, eQuoo is built for young adults' consumer habits and needs. With 70 per cent of 16 – 28-year-olds being casual gamers3, it made sense to Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder Silja Litvin to use her gaming industry knowledge to provide treatment they could engage with and enjoy. 
Silja_HeadshotWith over half a million players globally, PsycApps’s goal is to reach every young adult needing an emotional and mental boost in a way that makes it easy for them to stick with the program. 
Silja Litvin, PsycApps Co-Founder and CEO, said, “After working in an NHS priory, I realised that my clients were reaching me way too late - often after six months on a waitlist and years after experiencing the first symptoms. I wanted to find a way to give them the skill set they needed before they needed it. If a student drops out of their course due to mental health issues, it will change their lives in a way that hurts them and society. With eQuoo we give young adults a tool that helps them grow mentally, stay mentally healthy and get help if they're experiencing issues.”
Speaking on the investment, Stephen Bruso, Digital Health and BioTech Partner at Morningside Ventures, commented, “Digital health interventions will be critical in how our society addresses the second, ongoing pandemic of mental health issues. However, designing these interventions to maximize long-term engagement and outcomes will be critical to making a difference. Silja and her team have shown robust engagement and outcomes data in large clinical studies, and we are proud to partner with them to bring eQuoo to people in need everywhere.” 
Silja Litvin added, ‘We are excited to work with the Morningside team, who have a great track record. From our first meeting, it became clear that they share our passion for addressing this global mental health issue and, especially, the negative impact it is having on the results of those still in school. Morningside’s focus on health, tech, and social responsibility investing fits PsycApps perfectly.’
PsycApps was co-founded by Silja Litvin and Vanessa Hirsch-Angus, who has a background in private equity and insurance. The company is targeting the UK education market, where secondary schools, colleges, and universities desperately need tools to help keep their students healthy, with many of their existing mental health care programs failing to live up to expectations. 
Ofsted, the UK’s education regulator and schools and colleges assessor, has required schools and colleges to include a resilience and personal growth program within their curriculum before they can achieve a top rating. Currently, eQuoo is the only scalable tool covered by Ofsted, with clinical trials proving a positive impact on students’ resilience, anxiety, and depression.
HandPhone04Cambridge Regional College and Paragon Skills are two of eQuoo's early adopter clients, covering nearly 20,000 students and apprentices. They chose to ensure that their students have access to evidence-based tools that reduce the risk of failing to complete their course or reaching the results they would have otherwise achieved due to mental illness.
Niki Husher, Safeguarding and People Business Partner at Paragon Skills commented, “Over the past four years, Paragon Skills has seen a significant rise in the number of our learners reporting concerns about their mental health. By working with eQuoo, we have provided direct access to a self-help tool that reduces anxiety and depression and builds resilience. This, alongside other mental health initiatives, means that we are well placed to support our learners in overcoming any barriers they may face in achieving their apprenticeship.’ 
PsycApps is headquartered in London with a team embracing remote and flexible work. The company is hiring a sales team, marketing experts and a game development team to bring the whole production in-house. 

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Published on: 1st September 2022

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