Just as many other employee services have gone digital, so has mental health. Startups like Equu are on the rise in the consumer space, but now the race for employees is on.
And as telemedicine becomes digital and video-based, so has the mental health provision. Several companies are already playing in this area, including Spill Chat, On Mind, Lyra Health, Modern Health, Ginger and Talkspace for Business.
At this Oliva’s goal is not to market or create pre-recorded videos, but to put trained professionals in front of staff to speak to them directly. And there’s science to back it up, too. In fact, some research suggests that psychotherapy via the Internet is no better than face-to-face counseling.
Oliva’s on-demand, professionally-led mental health service for employees and managers has now attracted investment for a $2.2m pre-seed investment round led by Moonfire Ventures, led by Atomico co-founder Mattias Ljungman New seed-stage VC firm. .
The UK and Spain-based startup has also attracted angel investment from tech executives from Amazon, Booking.com, DogBuddy, Typeform, Hotjar, TravelPerk, and others.
Oliva is founded by Javier Suarez, who previously co-founded Travelpark, and Sanskar Sahin, who previously led the marketing teams at Hotjar and Typeform, so both are well-blooded in startups.
Suarez says he was inspired to create a mental health startup following the rigors of TravelPerk: “Employees are a company’s greatest asset—the better they feel, the better your company performs. But Organizations are not set up to support the mental health of their employees within and outside the workplace, which creates a huge problem for teammates, managers, and the organization as a whole.We have provided employees with access to comprehensive online mental health care. Oliva has been launched to provide access and help organizations address related challenges – from attracting and retaining talent and training managers to supporting remote workers.
Privacy is addressed through the use of a secure and encrypted personal portal, where employees can chat with a care provider who matches them with a professional. They receive 1-to-1 video therapy sessions from a range of mental health professionals, and can track their progress as well.
The team has also attracted Dr. Sarah Betup, who has spent more than two decades teaching and training mental health professionals, who is now Chief Clinical Officer.
She said: “Oliva improves the way mental health care is accessed, supported and paid, while also adding more ongoing monitoring and accountability to the process. Our ambition is to see Oliva as a badge of quality and Set a new standard for workplace mental health care.”
Matias Ljungman, Founder of Moonfire Ventures, said: “Mental health has been an overlooked area of care and wellbeing, especially in the workplace. The Oliva founders are the only team we have met with, taking a holistic, impact-driven approach to supporting mental health. While employer-funded mental health is becoming a well-established model in the US, Oliva is the first to bring a truly comprehensive approach to UK and European businesses.
The Oliva platform is integrated with Slack, providing employees with mental health drop-in sessions, therapy courses, and dedicated training and support for managers.