Therapy Goes Digital and This Startup Raises $9.5M Series A Round



Talkspace is a revolutionary new way to experience therapy through anonymous, text-based sessions with dedicated, licensed therapists on the web and through the Talkspace mobile app. Not only are therapists available on-demand and in real-time, bringing the dialogue between therapists and clients into the digital age. The company also just released  “Unlimited Messaging Therapy,” which allows clients 24/7 access to their therapist.

And not only is Talkspace eliminating the stigma, fear, anxiety and cost associated with traditional therapy whiledisrupting a $30 billion industry, to providing more convenient care, preventive care, attentiveness and proven clinical results for people who need it the most. It was also founded by a husband and wife team – and how often do you hear that investors shy away – if not avoid – companies cofounded by spouses?

Roni Frank, Cofounder and Head of Clinical Services, tells us how they’re helping to reinvent therapy and what the company’s planning next.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

We raised $9.5 million in a Series A round of financing led by our seed investors Spark Capital and SoftBank. Other existing investors Metamorphic Ventures and TheTime also participated in the round.

Tell us about your service.

Talkspace is a web and mobile therapy platform that connects people with dedicated, licensed therapists anytime and from anywhere. Talkspace introduced Unlimited Messaging Therapy (™) to provide people unprecedented on-demand access to a therapist for typically only $25 per week.

What inspired you to start the company?

Roni Frank

Roni Frank

After our own personal experience with counseling, we discovered that there was a huge gap in mental health care — the millions of people who need help cannot get help because they either cannot afford I,t or do not have access to it. We thought, there has to be a way we can make therapy more available, and tailored for the way we live and communicate today. So then, Talkspace was born.

How is it different?

Talkspace is reimagining therapy for the way we live today, allowing patients and therapists to interact from virtually anywhere and at anytime. With Talkspace, users no longer have to wait for an appointment or go through the endless reimbursement processes that accompany traditional therapy. In additional to being more accessible, we offer Unlimited Messaging Therapy at $25/week paid monthly.

What are the key issues that drive people to seek out a therapist, that you’ve noticed?

People seek out therapy for a variety of reasons, but most commonly they do so for symptoms such as depression, anxiety, stress and PTSD. Another reason many seek out a therapist is, like my husband and I once did, for marriage counseling or couples therapy.

Which age groups are gravitating to your platform?

Mid 20’s to late 40’s

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

Our audience is anyone and everyone that can use help and advice from a professional, licensed therapist; we believe it’s practically every one of us, Our target audiences include: professionals, stay-at-home moms, college students, LGBT, PTSD and people who suffer from mild, chronic, but non-severe mental illnesses.

What’s your business model?

Talkspace’s “Unlimited Messaging Therapy” allows clients 24/7 access to their therapist.

Pricing tiers: $49/week paid weekly, $25/week paid monthly, $19/week paid quarterly

What was the funding process like this time around?

This was an internal round, led by our Seed investors, Spark Capital and SoftBank, and with the participation of other existing investors, Metamorphic and TheTime. Our investors are great believers in our vision, so it went pretty smoothly

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

In previous rounds, we had to validate the market opportunity – show potential investors that mental health care is a huge, underserved market.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

We’ve built an incredible company, with a solid business foundation and a big social mission to offer a solution for the mental health crisis in the US and globally. Talkspace is changing the way we view and interact with mental health care, and I believe our investors recognized that leadership, and saw our business and technology working together to make a difference.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We will improve our product and service even more – product is key for everything else, and for scalability. Also, we will continue to invest a lot of effort in eradicating the stigma still associated with mental health care: as market leaders, we see it as part of our role. And last but not least, we will expand our service to other markets around the world.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

There’s plenty of money in NYC, but you should always make sure that you’re in the right market with a winning team, and a killer product.

Get all three right, and you’ll get money.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

The very same trajectory as before; making therapy accessible and affordable.
We began with hundreds of people getting help, grew to thousands, reached the 100,000 users, and now to millions.

What’s your favorite NY area beach?

The Central Park reservoir :)

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