SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sentio, a company developing biomarkers and digital therapeutics for mental health, today announced it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Felicis Ventures, with participation from Anthemis Exponential Ventures, and SOSV. The company combines its proprietary emotion sensing technology with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to bring a data-driven approach to the field of mental health for the very first time, while providing real-time interventions and care to those in need of emotional and mental health support. The latest investment, which brings the total raised to date to $6.3 million, will enable Sentio to expand access to its Feel program through partnerships with health plans, life insurance providers, employers, and health systems.
Mental health is one of the most urgent areas of focus for the healthcare industry, and insurance providers are taking a leading role in bringing solutions to the market. Sentio recently partnered with one of the largest health plans in California, as well as a large health and life insurer in Europe, to significantly expand access, reduce costs, and improve outcomes and quality of life for those in need of mental health support and care.
Feel helps health plans and employers improve the emotional health of their members and employees, while significantly reducing the cost of medical expenses and productivity losses due to mental health. Individuals suffering from mental health issues make six times more emergency room visits than the general population, and submit two to four times as many medical claims which translates to an additional $9,000 per year in added medical expenses.
"For decades, healthcare providers have been able to use objective data to measure and track all types of physical disorders, yet there has been no such solution for mental health to improve clinical effectiveness. Historically, mental healthcare is only provided at the therapist's office during periodic check-ins and has relied on patient questionnaires," said George Eleftheriou, co-founder and CEO of Sentio. "We envision a world where technology understands when someone is going through a depressive phase or panic attack, and provides support in their time of need so no one has to suffer alone ever again."
Because Feel constantly monitors a person's emotional state, it is able to detect emotional changes and deploy on-time interventions faster than any other solution available, preventing visits to the ER. At the same time, Feel therapists receive continuous data about their patients' emotional state, so when they see patients, they already know what is going on and can be up to four times more efficient in treating the issue.
Today is World Mental Health Day, and according to the World Health Organization, nearly half a billion people globally suffer from a mental condition and diagnoses are on the rise in every country. One in five people in the US are living with anxiety and depression, and timely access to support is often a challenge, not only in rural or low-income communities, but also in large city environments. Despite surging demand, mental health support services are in short supply, with waiting times to see a therapist often reaching up to four months.
"The current wave of digital mental health apps has improved access to meditation and sleep support but innovation in the treatment of medical conditions including anxiety and depression has been limited," said Victoria Treyger, general partner at Felicis Ventures. "Feel is exciting because it is the first application of technology to dramatically increase access to mental health treatment for depression or anxiety. Both employers and insurers have been craving a solution like this to help tackle the mental health crisis that impacts job performance, morale, and overall well-being."
HOW FEEL WORKS
The company pairs CBT — a form of psychotherapy that modifies dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and thoughts — with its Feel Emotion Sensor, which uses the science of affective computing to detect changes in the emotional state of a person based on their physiological response to different stimuli.
The Feel program includes:
- Feel Emotion Sensor — A wristband with integrated biosensors that continuously monitors a variety of physiological signals to understand the wearer's emotional state and patterns over time
- Feel App — A smartphone app that connects to the wristband to provide real-time support and evidence-based interventions (i.e. mood journaling, breathing exercises)
- Licensed Feel Therapist — Weekly, 15-minute remote data-driven sessions with a designated licensed therapist with expertise in CBT
- Online Educational Program — Online educational tools and classes that help build resilience and positive long-term emotional habits
Feel was founded in 2015 by Eleftheriou and CTO Haris Tsirmpas to eliminate suffering from mental health disorders through the use of objective data and on-time interventions. Both founders have battled with mental health issues, and built Feel based on their own experiences and shared technical expertise. Eleftheriou is a former management consultant, having worked at Cisco and McKinsey. He has a master's in management science & engineering from Columbia. Tsirmpas has a PhD in biomedical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and has written 27 publications on the area.
To learn more about the Feel program for employers and health plans, visit myfeel.co/feel-program
About Sentio Solutions
Sentio Solutions is a company developing biomarkers and digital therapeutics for mental health. Its flagship offering is Feel, the world's first Emotion Sensor and Mental Health Advisor, that provides proprietary emotion monitoring technology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and on-time interventions to deliver 24/7/365 mental health support to those in need. Sentio has 50 employees, including eight PhDs, and is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Shenzhen, China and Athens, Greece. For more information, visit www.myfeel.co.
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SOURCE Sentio Solutions