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Big Funding for Big Health; Digital Healthcare Service Founded In East London Raises £9.5m – Octopus Ventures Lead The Round

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Big Health, a start-up that claims to provide “Good mental health without pills or potions”, with offices in London and San Francisco, has raised £9.15m for expansion

Big Health, the digital healthcare start-up founded in East London in 2010, has announced that it has completed a £9.15 Series B funding round.

The round has been led by Octopus Ventures, alongside Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Index Ventures (who also participated in the $3.3m Series A in April 2014), Angel Investor Sean Duffy (CEO of Omada Health) and JamJar Investments –  an investment fund launched by the founders of Innocent Drinks.

Big Health was co-founded by ex-NHS Innovation Fellow Peter Hames and University of Oxford Professor Colin Espie; the company has successfully automated evidence based, non-drug medical solutions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, making them, the firm says, “as scalable and accessible as pharmaceuticals.”

Big Health have participated in “Gold Standard” clinical trials, demonstrating the effectiveness of their products, they say, and enabling the majority of sufferers using the service to achieve good mental health.

Big Health’s flagship product is Sleepio, a digital sleep improvement program which can help users improve their mental health and well-being by helping them overcome poor sleep patterns.

Sleepio was the world’s first digital sleep program to participate in a placebo-group randomised controlled trial (RCT) in which it was demonstrated to be comparable in effect to in-person CBT, with 76% of insomnia sufferers achieving healthy sleep patterns.

In a separate study in 2015, the program was demonstrated to be effective in helping reduce the symptoms experienced by people suffering from anxiety, and Sleepio has also been proven to be effective in the workplace, with an RCT conducted within a Fortune 500 company demonstrating “significant improvements in sleep and productivity.

Sleepio, has been deployed to more than 750,000 employees at major corporates such as Comcast, LinkedIN, Boston Medical Centre and Henry Ford Health System, and has been selected by The National Business Group on Health, an industry body which represents more than 55m workers in the US, to present to employer members of its Health Innovations Forum.

Big Health has offices in London and San Francisco. The two founders met when Hames cured his own insomnia by reading Espie’s self-help book; says Hames of the funding round; “this new investment allows us to push on towards our goal of helping millions back to good mental health”.

Professor Espie added; “everything we do is rooted in scientific evaluation, robustly scrutinised and published in leading clinical academic journals. So far we have 14 published papers plus a considerable research pipeline, and we openly encourage independent investigators to evaluate our products and publish their findings.”

Octopus, who typically invest between a quarter of a million to £25 million in a first round of funding, have backed the likes of Graze, LoveFILM, Secret Escapes and SwiftKey, who were recently acquired by Microsoft in a deal worth £250m.

Kaiser Permanente Ventures is the strategic venture arm of Kaiser Permanente, and invests exclusively in Healthcare related technologies. The company has backed more than 60 companies since its inception in 1997.

JamJar, founded by Innocent Drinks founders after they sold the business to Coca Cola in for more than $500m in 2013, have backed Deliveroo and Graze, and the founding team often act as advisers to the companies they invest in.

Sleepio has also been listed by the NHS as a suggested provider for online mental health services.

The private Healthcare industry in the UK has been estimated to be worth as much as £25bn per annum, and the Healthcare industry overall in the region of £100bn.

 

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