Lua Health bags €500,000 in pre-seed funding

1 Jul 2024

From left: Anna-Marie Turley, Gianni Matera, Dr Mihael Arcan and Fionn Delahunty. Image: Coalesce

Founded by Fionn Delahunty and Dr Mihael Arcan, Lua Health has developed AI algorithms that can detect wellbeing issues based on how someone writes or speaks.

Workplace wellbeing start-up Lua Health has raised €500,000 in pre-seed funding led by Enterprise Ireland and Gianni Matera’s private investment firm Growing Capital.

Based in the Business Innovation Centre at the University of Galway, Lua Health aims to challenge the conventional approach to workplace wellbeing. The idea is to help companies prioritise wellbeing at the workplace with a platform that also makes sense economically.

Lua Health, a former Start-up of the Week, was founded by Fionn Delahunty and Dr Mihael Arcan, who are experts in psychology, data analytics and AI.

Delahunty told in February that despite investing billions in workplace wellbeing, the return on investment for many companies has been proven to be “disappointingly low”. This is on top of research that shows eliminating existing workplace wellbeing programmes has little to no impact on the actual wellbeing of employees.

“The team has developed a suite of AI algorithms that can measure mental wellbeing issues such as stress, burnout, depression and anxiety from how someone writes or speaks,” Delahunty said. “We firmly believe that the future of wellbeing lies in prevention and early detection, ensuring the right support at the right time.”

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke, TD said following the announcement today (1 July) that mental health of workers is becoming a “top priority” for businesses.

“A dilemma for leadership in organisations is being able to support the wellbeing of their staff in a pro-active and pre-emptive way,” Burke said. “Lua Health’s platform will play a huge role in offering employers tangible technological solutions in this space going forward. I know that Lua Health has ambitious global plans and is already seeing strong interest in its offering, and I wish the team every success for the future.”

Gianni Matera, founder of Growing Capital, said that Lua Health marks his firm’s 14th collaborative venture with Enterprise Ireland and its fifth investment in innovative spin-outs stemming from Irish universities.

“We take pride in our investment in Lua Health’s technology, enabling individuals to gain a deeper understanding of their wellbeing and take timely actions to prevent situations from worsening.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic