Touchkin, a startup that has developed a mental health chat-bot named Wysa, has announced that it has raised a total of ₹8.3 crore ($1.3 million) in seed funding from early stage investment firm Kae Capital and a few angel investors.
Wysa, which was created for behavioural and mental health, offers evidence-based techniques through empathetic, anonymous conversations. The company claims that so far, it has had over 3 million conversations with people from 30 countries.
Jo Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO, said, “In the last month, three people wrote to us to say that Wysa saved their life. It blew our minds that by providing an empathetic ear, even an AI bot could help people hold on when they felt they had no one to turn to.”
Vidushi Kamani, Venture Partner at Kae Capital and an investor in Wysa, said, “Combining passive sensing technology with a personalised AI coach changes the economics of the behavioural health and wellness industry globally. With Wysa, providers can increase the number of people supported per coach by 10-100X, with increased engagement, better monitoring and improved self-management.”
Wysa was started as a side project for healthcare AI start-up Touchkin. Ramakant Vempati, co-founder, says that their technology detects behavioural health issues from smartphone sensors and engages them through chat.
It collaborates with researchers across the world to validate its clinical efficacy. Dr Becky Inkster, Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge and Visiting Scholar, School of Social Work, Columbia University has been working with Wysa.
Wysa supports a variety of behavioural health use cases including anxiety, smoking cessation, diabetes and disability support, to reduce healthcare costs and improve adherence.
Touchkin now plans to take Wysa to the insurance sector through its collaboration with Swiss Re, one of the leading reinsurance companies globally. Wysa has been a part of Swiss Re’s Insurtech accelerator in 2016.