Irish start-up SilverCloud Health raises €1.5m to target global e-therapy market

27 Jun 2013

From left: Leo Hamill, partner at Investec Ventures; James Bligh, co-founder and CTO at SilverCloud, and Ken Cahill, co-founder and CEO at SilverCloud

Irish health-tech start-up SilverCloud Health has secured €1.5m of new equity funding that will be used to ramp up its growth strategies, company co-founder Ken Cahill said.

Last October, when featured SilverCloud Health in our ‘One to Watch‘ series, Cahill spoke about the company’s plans to disrupt the online health and wellness space with its new e-therapy platform, especially in areas such as depression and chronic illness.

Today, the €1.5m investment in SilverCloud Health is being led by the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, managed by Investec Ventures, with co-investment from the AIB Seed Capital Fund, managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC), and Enterprise Ireland.

It helps that, last year, SilverCloud was named as the ‘Most Investable Business in Ireland‘ by the Irish Software Association and Irish Venture Capital Association. SilverCloud also secured funding from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund in early 2012.

Spawning from Ireland’s research base

The Dublin-based start-up appears to be emblematic of the type of technology transfer happening in Ireland’s research and start-up ecosystem.

Founded in 2012, SilverCloud is a spin-out from Technology Enhanced Therapy, a three-year joint translational research project carried out by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) school of computer science and statistics, and Parents Plus at Mater University Hospital.

Before this, the project had also undergone eight years of direct academic research at Trinity College Dublin.

SilverCloud’s cloud-based platform aims to enable healthcare organisations to deliver a broad range of engaging evidence-based clinical content, programmes and support in the areas of mental health and chronic/long-term illness.

When we spoke to Cahill last year, he said that in clinical trials, user trials and real-world deployments, SilverCloud has shown a threefold increase in client engagement rates when compared to other computer-based support/therapy programmes.

Another goal of the clinical trials has been to help de-stigmatise mental health treatment, according to Cahill.

The Dublin-based company is now looking to expand on its traction in EU and US markets, in addition to accelerating its entry into Middle Eastern and Asian markets, where it sees growing demand for innovative healthcare solutions.

Behavioural healthcare market

Cahill, now CEO at SilverCloud, said the start-up has ambitions to tap into the demand of the growing behavioural healthcare market, which in the US alone is estimated to be worth US$375bn.

“Targeting healthcare organisations we are poised to take advantage of a gap in the market in terms of product and service offering,” said Cahill today. “We believe our interactive, supportive and social platform will cater for the needs of a growing mental and chronic/long-term illness care population.”

He said the funding would help SilverCloud target becoming an international leader in health and wellness care delivery.

SilverCloud’s customer base includes a major US healthcare insurer, the NHS in the UK, St Patrick’s Hospital in Ireland, and other global organisations.

International scope

Leo Hamill, partner in Investec Ventures, said today that the investors believe that SilverCloud’s offering is unique, highly innovative and has “considerable” international potential.

“We are delighted to complete this investment and look forward to supporting the SilverCloud team as they enter their next phase of growth,” he said.

Following the investment, Hamill is set to join the board of SilverCloud.

Watch our video interview with Cahill last October:

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic