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Global investment in mental health technology surges above half a billion pounds

27 Jan 2020
  • Employers increasingly prioritise employees’ mental health with digital solutions
  • Global VC investment in mental health technology has increased almost five-fold to reach close to £600 million

Octopus Ventures, one of the largest early stage investors in Europe and part of Octopus Group, today publishes a new study that maps the evolution of investment into mental health technology.

The research, based on analysis of the latest Pitchbook data, found that over the last six years, global funding in this area has witnessed a significant increase – from £120 million in 2014 to £580 million in 2019.

The study tracked total deal count in the sector, which has more than tripled in the same time period – up from 30 deals in 2014 to 105 last year.

The latest available data shows that funding rounds are increasing in size, with the average raise equating to £1.92 million in 2019, compared to only £660,000 in 2014. This trend accelerated back in 2016, when the likes of Big Health, the app that provides digital therapy for those suffering from insomnia and anxiety, announced a £9 million funding round.  

Similarly, stress reduction app Calm announced a £22 million fundraise in July 2019, having achieved unicorn status at the beginning of the year when it raised an additional £70 million. Other notable funding rounds in this space include Compass Pathways’ £25 million funding round in 2018, which is helping the Company develop innovative care pathways and therapies within mental health.

Some £2.04 billion was invested in mental health technology over the last six years, 15% of the total £13.7 billion raised by digital health companies. This means for every £7 invested into digital health technologies, roughly £1 went towards mental health tech solutions.

Although the research also found that investment in mental health technology in the UK is on the rise – increasing from £350,000 in 2014 to £21 million in 2019 – it also makes up a relatively small proportion of the global total (£580 million).

Peter Hames, CEO, Big Health commented:

“We’re proud to be helping millions back to good health through our digital therapeutics Sleepio and Daylight, and encouraged that investors are increasingly recognising the potential of technology to tackle the mental health crisis.

1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer a mental health problem each year[1] the UK economy millions – yet the prevalence of the issue is not reflected in the amounts invested.

Whilst the increase in investment is welcome, we hope investors do more in helping to address one of the foremost public health issues not only in the UK, but across the globe.”

Kamran Adle, early stage investor in the Future of Health team at Octopus Ventures, said:

“We are proud to have contributed to the rising investment in this space, opening up a discourse on what was once considered an unknown and unapproachable subject. This reflects our desire to invest in ‘taboo’ areas within the future of health. Mental health is a complex and nuanced field, which has seen a variety of solutions from a range of companies.

“However, we recognise that the venture capital industry can do more to address mental health difficulties. There is a huge opportunity for the UK to be a leader in this space and we are already working with companies in our portfolio that are tackling this issue, such as Big Health. Our aim is to find more entrepreneurs and early stage companies that are building innovative solutions for the millions of people around the world who want to focus on – and improve – their mental health.”

-Ends-

Notes to Editors:

[1] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#.XSYgaJNKhWM

Study findings:

Global:

Mental Health Headline numbers: 329 companies, 715 deals, 906 investors, largest deal: £153.02m, capital invested: £2.04BN

Mental Health Deal Count & Capital Raised by year:

  • 2014: 30, £120.33M
  • 2015: 40, £268.23M
  • 2016: 70, £244.34M
  • 2017: 79, £280.72M
  • 2018: 95, £552.71M
  • 2019: 105, £578.02M

Digital Health Headline numbers: 1,541 companies, 3,779 deals, 3,859 investors, 2 exits, largest deal: £829.34m, capital invested: £13.83BN

Digital Health Deal Count & Capital Raised by year:

  • 2014: 234, £674M
  • 2015: 328, £1.02BN
  • 2016: 372, £1.93BN
  • 2017: 425, £2.39BN
  • 2018: 450, £3.58BN
  • 2019: 421, £4.08BN

UK:

Mental Health Headline numbers: 45 companies, 108 deals, 106 investors, largest deal: £25m, capital invested: £124.52M

  • 2014: 2, £350k
  • 2015: 6, £7.53m
  • 2016: 12, £13.16m
  • 2017: 17, £39.18m
  • 2018: 13, £38.77m
  • 2019: 16, £21.27m

Digital Health Headline numbers: 123 companies, 334 deals, 405 investors, largest deal: £441.72m, capital invested: £1.62BN

  • 2014: 20, £32.53m
  • 2015: 30, £58.06m
  • 2016: 31, £126.64m
  • 2017: 43, £276.69m
  • 2018: 33, £106.85m
  • 2019: 42, £991.78m

For journalists in their professional capacity only. Personal opinions may change and should not be seen as advice or a recommendation. We do not offer investment or tax advice. Issued by Octopus Investments. Octopus Ventures is part of Octopus Investments Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 03942880. Issued: January 2020.

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