BOSTON, July 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Uwill, a startup that enables college students to connect on-demand with mental health professionals, today announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC. Founded by veteran edtech entrepreneur and EY Entrepreneur of the Year Michael London, Uwill's seed investors include a who's-who of industry giants, including Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer and Princeton Review founder John Katzman.
"The COVID-19 crisis, and impacts of systemic racism, are taking a toll on students," said McDaniels, who has himself grappled with mental health issues and authored the bestselling book 10 Ways Not to Commit Suicide. "This is about meeting students where they are by providing support in real-time through text and other channels students actually use. We're partnering with colleges to complement the resources that already exist on campus to ensure that students can stay on track and graduate in a period of unprecedented uncertainty."
Demand for mental health services on campus has exploded even before the pandemic, with as many as 60 percent of college students reporting significant anxiety in the past year, and diagnoses increasing by more than 50% between 2007 and 2017. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated this challenge: recent research suggests that eight in 10 students have seen their mental health negatively affected by the pandemic.
Designed to empower students through a gig economy platform that allows them to evaluate and match to the mental health professionals they select, Uwill is the only secure teletherapy platform to offer a full suite of communication modalities, including video, text, phone, email, and chat. Uwill's leading-edge machine learning technology enables students to identify and connect with the counselor of their choice, and provides flexibility in both scheduling and style of communication.
"College campuses are facing a mental health crisis. We're trying to further remove the stigma of counseling and put students in the driver's seat, by connecting them with mental health professionals that they can get comfortable with and relate to," said Michael London. "As many colleges prepare to conduct the next semester -- or even year -- entirely online, providing remote access to therapy and counseling while maintaining privacy will be a critical element of their efforts to drive persistence and student success."
A Boston-based serial entrepreneur, London previously served as CEO of Examity, a 2020 winner of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies award, and the only company named to both Deloitte's Fast 500 list and the Boston Business Journal's top 10 fastest-growing companies in Massachusetts for two consecutive years. London is also the founding CEO of Bloomberg Institute, the founder of EdAssist and the co-founder of College Coach.
Uwill is transforming campus mental health by facilitating best-in-class, on-demand counseling for college students. The company's platform, rooted in sophisticated machine learning technology, provides a secure solution for experienced mental health professionals to connect with students through all modalities of teletherapy, including video, message, chat and phone.