Frankie Health raises $1.25m for its mental wellbeing app

14 Jan 2021

Frankie Health co-founder James McGann. Image: Frankie Health

The Dublin start-up will invest the new funds in adding 20 new staff to its engineering, design and marketing teams.

Mental health app Frankie Health has raised $1.25m in a seed funding round led by Hong Kong firm E15 VC.

Frankie Health, founded by James McGann and Seb Poole, is a mental health app that connects a business’s employees with therapists to deliver personalised exercises to reduce stress and anxiety.

The platform is free for therapists to use, with sessions and exercises protected with end-to-end encryption.

Citing figures from the World Health Organization, the start-up said that mental health disorders affect one in four people. It said that stress and burnout have a major impact on businesses’ productivity and employee attendance.

“Mental health is a spectrum that we all move up and down on. When employees are feeling good, they can be building resilience by completing proven exercises that develop mental strength,” McGann said. “And when harder times come, employees should get immediate support from the highest quality sources.”

The investment was led by Hong Kong venture capital firm E15 VC, which has invested in several health-focused companies including Auris Health, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2019.

E15 VC managing partner Philip Liang said: “The [Frankie] team combines incredible insights to mental health with the ability to develop scalable technology. From family businesses in mental health to learning meditation in Nepal, Frankie’s team is uniquely placed to help manage ever demanding mental health needs.”

Frankie Health plans to invest the funds in hiring 20 people in engineering, design and marketing over the next year and a half.

The market for workplace wellness services is now valued at more than $48bn and mental health and wellbeing apps attracted a lot of VC attention over the last year. According to an analysis by Pitchbook, such apps raised more than $1.3bn by late 2020 amid the pandemic, eclipsing the $1.06bn raised in 2019.

Mindstrong raised $100m last year with Jeff Bezos’s investment firm among its backers while Lyra Health is reportedly raising a further $175m that would value the company at $2.25bn.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin