This startup ensures mental health wellness at the workplace with tech
Even as mental health became a talking point anew during the pandemic—with people confined to their homes and remote working adding to stress levels—there has been a shortage of trained professionals to offer solutions at scale. Kanika Agarwal’s Delhi-based startup, MindPeers, aims to bridge this gap using tech.
“We are a mental health SaaS (software as a service) tool for consumers and employers,” says Kanika, who founded the startup in January 2020. “We cover the entire spectrum from mental illness to wellness.”
MindPeers’ certified mental health trainers and clinicians use deep technology and data to offer solutions.
“Our platform is a personalised tool for one to get diagnosed via our clinically validated tool and obtain a personalised mental wellness plan, leading to a proprietary self-care tool, which comprises behavioural and cognitive modules, techniques, unwinding gamification, insights and analysis as well as therapy services,” says Kanika.
According to her, there aren’t many discreet platforms that offer mental health coaching. “Most of the players in India are therapy marketplaces addressing primarily B2C. The ones that address B2B are services-led companies, which have some stigma attached to them and are yet to become mainstream.”
There is a big gap in addressing employee mental healthcare needs at the workplace, she says. “There needs to be a synchronous way to get diagnosed and treated with an evidence-based system for mental healthcare.”
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global mobile health solutions market is projected to reach $213.6 billion by 2025 from $50.8 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 33.3 percent.
The starting point
Kanika’s decision to start MindPeers stemmed from the struggles and anxiety she experienced after founding her first startup, a digital transformation consulting firm called Digital Passion Peers. The business was based in Singapore and it had scaled to a multimillion-dollar company.
Earlier, she handled marketing and communications for Vocanic and Microsoft. She is a computer science graduate of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
Organisations and workplaces sign up for subscriptions with MindPeers on behalf of their employees. Post-sign-up, each employee gets a personalised self-care dashboard on MindPeers.
MindPeers’ approach has been to inform organisations about mental wellness. HR and team leaders first understand why mental healthcare is important to their organisation, after which MindPeers equips them with a SaaS workflow to take care of employee well-being.
“Discretion, privacy, personalisation are all crucial factors that got us customers,” says Kanika.
She has personally invested Rs 28 lakh in the business and raised a seed round from 100x.vc. MindPeers also raised a $200,000 pre-seed round from angel investors in the USA, Singapore, Indonesia, and India.
The fundraise helps to acquire talent. But it has not been easy.
“Finding the right tech talent has been difficult, especially in machine learning and artificial intelligence, with an understanding of healthcare,” adds Kanika.
The startup aims to scale with its subscription-based plans and hopes the retainer models will bring in long-term contracts.
MindPeers is scaling the clinical modules on its app and will soon expand to South East Asia this year. Since its launch, the startup has signed up 15-plus corporate clients and more than 5,000 individual customers.
Mindhouse, ePsyclinic, and Trijog are some other startups in the mental well-being industry in India.
(Edited by Lena Saha)