While mental health disorders are on the rise, the vast majority of patients are not reached by traditional solutions. HelloBetter makes cognitive behavioral therapy universally accessible by offering highly engaging, yet scalable digital therapeutics for a broad portfolio of mental disorders, all of which have been proven to be effective in at least one randomised-controlled trial. We combine technology with digital content, daily activities, writing exercises and individual coaching to empower people to maintain and improve their mental health in a self-determined way.
Recently, we have closed a €3 million seed funding round in 2019 with a group of angel investors, a family office and a medium-size healthcare group. Since then we invested heavily in our underlying technology, won new partners and grew significantly as a company. Today, over 10 million people have free access to our courses thanks to our contracts with leading health insurance companies.
We piloted the courses within several large-scale research projects and tested the interventions on more than 25k participants. Since 2015 our courses have been offered on the German market, paid for by public health insurance. As off now we already treated more than 10k clients in a commercial setting (and an additional 25k in a research setting). We have closed deals with major insurance companies on a national as well as international level (BARMER, Allianz and SWICA) and are proud of the adoption of our products by blue chip companies like Volkswagen, Lufthansa and Axel Springer.
We cover screening, prevention, treatment and after care and offer online courses for a broad range of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain or insomnia (11 different courses, 8 different treatment areas). We, hence, address people with subclinical symptoms as well as people with more severe symptoms as traditional solutions are not always effective and often inaccessible to the majority of those in need.
Our therapeutics are integrated into a comprehensive stepped care model, starting with the identification of symptom severity, the selection of the appropriate guidance level and, if necessary, further additional support.
Depending on individual preferences and symptom severity the user can choose to receive extra guidance from an online coach, who will assist the user for three months in forms of an initial telephone consultation and written feedback after each completed course unit. To ensure the quality of service, all psychologists in the HelloBetter service team have a Master’s degree in psychology and are at least in the final stages of their training as psychotherapists, or are already trained psychotherapists
Overall, 10% of the global population (800 million) live with a mental health disorder. Regarding market size there are numerous projections: The Global Digital Health Market is predicted to grow to ca. $ 500 bn in 2025. The subsegment Behavioral Health Software and Services is predicted to grow to anywhere between $ 2.5 bn and $5 bn in 2025. The global digital therapeutics market is projected to reach $6.9 bn by 2025. The global Mental Health Apps Market is projected to reach $2.6 bn by 2025.
Given these estimates it seems reasonable to assume a market size of at least $2.5 bn by 2025 globally. Since we may not be able to obtain market access everywhere until then, the addressable market likely will be smaller.
Problem or Opportunity
Mental healthcare systems are globally inadequate: while mental health disorders are on the rise, the vast majority of patients are not reached by traditional solutions. Patients struggle with inconvenience and avoidable suffering, such as a lack of availability, inadequate treatment, long waiting times as well as a lack of flexibility in time and place. At the same time, health insurance companies deal with high direct as well as indirect costs due to expensive traditional face-to-face therapy, sick leave payments as well as late, inadequate or unnecessary treatment.
In regards to the ongoing pandemic the importance of digital treatment options in the field of mental health was emphasized again. Now more than ever, it is important to provide people with effective digital tools to manage their mental health problems. With our scientifically proven psychological online courses we empower people with mental health problems to maintain and improve their mental well-being in a self-determined way– anywhere and at any time, with no waiting lists.
Solution (product or service)
HelloBetter is the emergent category leader in the field of digital therapeutics (DTx) for mental health disorders and a global pioneer in the field of digital mental health research. We offer scientifically validated (32 randomised-controlled trials) DTx for a broad range of mental health disorders such as depression, insomnia, burnout, anxiety and more.
We combine technology with digital content, daily activities, writing exercises and individual coaching to create highly engaging, yet scalable digital therapeutics. Clients learn and reflect during weekly sessions and actively engage with the course through various interactive features that require their input as well as written exercises. The course is adaptive, experience-oriented and individualised according to the clients' interests and prior screening results. They apply what they have learned in daily habit-building tasks and receive therapist support to answer questions and improve adherence.
Our online courses have been developed and evaluated over many years of research by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and psychological experts. No other provider worldwide has conducted as many clinical trials (according to the most rigorous methodological standards) on the effectiveness of their online mental health interventions. And no other provider offers such a broad range of highly effective products. With our unrivalled scientific expertise and passion for supporting people with mental health problems, we have already helped tens of thousand people to lead better and healthier lives.
In Germany, our main competitors are Gaia AG and Selfapy. Gaia offers three highly scalable, standardised digital therapeutics with 13 RCTs, but no human support and is rather non-interactive, thus limiting effectiveness as a standalone intervention. However, they closed distribution partnerships with Pharma (in Germany Servier, in USA Orexo) and are available internationally (available in >5 languages).
Selfapy has a broad portfolio, but up until today no published RCT which proves their courses’ effectiveness, thus limiting reimbursement pathways (so far only prevention). Unlike Gaia or HelloBetter, they offer their courses exclusively with (pretty intensive) human support. The digital component of their product is less interactive. Due to marketing spent, they have landed a number of insurance contracts in Germany providing coverage to some 18 million people. They are, however, not active outside of Germany yet.
In the UK Silvercloud and IESO are the biggest companies. While Silvercloud has only 4 RCTs and is only available as a B2B solution, IESO is offering text-based chat with psychotherapists and essentially digitising face-to-face Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) without added benefit, limiting flexibility and scalability. IESO is paid by the NHS for most UK regions.
Advantages or differentiators
First and foremost we differentiate from competitors in terms of product quality. HelloBetter has the strongest evidence base for its products among all of its competitors while covering the broadest range of products. This evidence base is largely due to 13 years of research by the three initial founders David, Hanne and Elena and numerous other PhD-candidates which was in large parts funded by third party funding (>10 mEUR) acquired by David. The three founders are still onboard and part of the leadership to date. Furthermore, David continues to drive research in the field with an international network of researchers and with different research grants which contribute to the development of the HelloBetter products.
Based on the unique body of evidence regarding our products and David's position as a trusted voice in the space of digital psychotherapy, HelloBetter has built strong bonds with the general practitioners’ association, the association of psychotherapists, the associations of the private (PKV) and public health insurers (GKV) and relevant political actors. As GPs and psychotherapists will be the decision makers in the purchasing decision through the prescription of our product as a treatment, this relationship is particularly important. The PKV (private health insurance companies) and GKV (statutory health insurance companies) are more relevant actors in the prevention space, when health insurers offer our products directly to their clients to save treatment cost.
For 2020 we expect €2.9 m in total, thereof €1.2m as recurring core product revenue, €1m in grants and €0.7m in one-off revenue from a number of different projects. One-off revenue mainly consists of €500k which Allianz paid so that HelloBetter could provide a broad range of support offerings to people suffering from stress and anxiety in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to generate recurring revenue we currently pursue three distinct, yet highly complementary strategies, in which insurances, other businesses or care providers pay for end user adoption.
In 2021, HelloBetter will help at least 25,000 people to improve their mental health by…
...becoming ‘standard of care’
Meeting the regulatory requirements for general market access and/or closing partnerships with individual health insurance companies to actively market our solution to end-users (e.g. in Germany §20, §140, DVG).
Barmer, SVLFG, Get Sleep Project, Ratiopharm
...signing distribution partnerships
Achieving scale without an in-house salesforce by outsourcing sales to corporate distribution partners with a network of B2B customers in the occupational health management and insurance space.
Barmer (BGM), Allianz Partners
...offering care providers a SaaS-solution
Working with established care providers that use our content and tech platform as a SaaS-solution while providing the psychological guidance autonomously.
Swica / Santé24
Money will be spent on
The most obvious example where we might want to invest additional resources is marketing in the context of the digital care act to reach doctors, therapists and patients. We want to be able to be flexible should marketing turn out to be extraordinarily ineffective or extraordinarily effective and thus, probably, competitive – making sure we establish ourselves as the market leader in the space – no matter.
The second example for such an initiative is the German Accelerator programme that helps us to figure out if, when and how to go to the US. Once a solid strategy has been worked out, we will need resources to implement it with the clear objective of following in Kaia's footsteps who very successfully established their US business as a result of the programme.
Last but not least we want to invest resources in order to fully leverage programmes such as Innovations in Healthcare, Anthem’s Fast Track to Scale and MassChallenge's Healthtech Startup accelerator programme.
None of these initiatives is at a stage right now that the specific cost associated with closing specific projects and the marketing costs of getting them off the ground would be quantifiable at present. We do believe, however, that 5 million Euros would provide us with the necessary flexibility to take full advantage of them.
Offer for investor
We are convinced to be one of the hottest European E-Health tech companies and are ready to share our vision on the big stage: “We make cognitive behavioral therapy universally accessible” HelloBetter has proven its right to play to the biggest insurance players like BARMER, Allianz and more importantly brought value to suffering patients.
We are excited about our ongoing series A funding round. During the process we are happy to negotiate what company shares we will offer to investors.
The digital healthcare market received a great momentum during the Corona crisis. Finally, people are ready for digital solutions to help them foster their mental health. However, with a growing market the risk of programs that are not proven to be effective (and maybe even harmful) also keeps growing. It hence is of utter importance to help users, investors, health insurance companies and medical professionals to differentiate between evidence-based and non-evidence based programs.
Further, the health care sector is a highly regulated market. One of the major challenges is receiving market access in different countries as processes cannot be standardized but need to be adapted to the regulatory requirements of each country.
Overall, with our great portfolio and a highly qualified team we are convinced to being able to successfully overcome those obstacles in order to serve even more patients with mental health problems that will benefit from our highly effective digital therapeutics.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
We have been part of the Flying Health programme ever since acquiring a competitor (Arya) in a fire sale. Flying Health supports innovative digital startups by providing market access support services, organising events and connecting them within their network of established corporate partners fr om the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry.
Further, we are part of the German Accelerator program of the German federal ministry of economic affairs and energy, which accelerates company’s international growth and success and are supporting us with acquiring new international markets.
Moreover, taking place this year in September we have been selected to participate in the Kickstart innovation program, wh ere we get the opportunity to do market entry and business development in Switzerland and Europe and network with corporations, foundations, universities and cities in order to foster deep tech innovation.
This year, we won the digital tech 50 award, which rewarded us amongst others with receiving high level mentorship and consulting from McKinsey and Google.
Recently, we have been recognized and honored by the World Economic Forum for addressing the immediate and long-term challenges of the COVID crisis. The World Economic Forum will support us scaling our impact, promoting our work on our social media platforms, presenting us at their events and introducing us to experts and potential funders who can accelerate our idea.
Won the competition and other awards
- Digital Top 50 award in the category ‘Tech for Good’: the Digital Top 50 Awards have recognized Europe’s top entrepreneurial talent, endorsing the continent’s thriving tech scene. Organizers are Google, McKinsey, Freshfields, 468 Capital and Hering Schuppener
- German Medical Award – shortlisted for ‘Medical digital award’, applied with our sleep course and the project get.sleep, decision pending
- Shortlisted for the Gesundheitsnetzwerker Prize with our Get.Sleep Project. Prize for integrated health care projects
- Shortlisted in two categories (best innovation on the healthcare market, - Noventi eHealth Award) for the Vision.A award. Prize for innovative, creative and sustainable concepts in the health and pharmaceutical sectors. The prize is sponsored by Noventi and Apotheke AdHoc.
- World Summit Award (in Health & Well-Being) that aims to sel ect and promote the world’s best startup companies in digital content and innovative applications.
- Habilitation Award 2018 for the best habilitation of the university, the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg
- Novartis digital health prize: Prize fr om Novartis and Sandoz/Hexal, which honors innovators and founders who develop sustainable solutions to improve health care in Germany
- Good Practice in Mental Health & Wellbeing seal of approval as part of the EU - Compass 2018, which recognises high-quality mental health initiatives in Europe in order to guide health care providers to effective and proven services.
- EFPA Comenius Prize for Dr David Ebert for studies on the development of internet mobile-based behavioural health interventions.
- Charlotte and Karl-Bühler Prize of the German Psychological Society for scientific work that has reached the rank of a research program and has already influenced a field of research in psychology and has shown effects on neighboring fields
- Wilhelm-Exner Prize in Psychology for outstanding research
- Transfer prize of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg for the project "Internet-based Stress Management for Stressed Employees" Award for outstanding research projects with high impact on practice
- Heinrich Sauer Award for outstanding research work in the field of Diabetes
Transfer prize of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg for the project "W-RENA: Web-based rehabilitation aftercare after inpatient psychosomatic therapy".
Awarded with the Early Career Researcher Award of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions