Intellect Creates Culturally Competent Mental Health Care for Asia with Support from Tiger Global – TechCrunch
The ambitious goal of mental health start-up Intellect is to be available across the Asia-Pacific region, but to ensure localized, culturally competent care in each of the many markets it serves. Today it announced it has added $10 million to its war chest in a Tiger Global-led expansion of Series A, bringing the round’s total to $20 million. The first half of Serie A was announced in January 2022.
Additional investors in the extension round include new backers K3 Ventures, JAFCO Asia, Singtel Innov8 and PERSOL Holdings, with participation from returning investors Insignia Ventures Partners and HOF Capital.
Intellect describes this as “the largest risk round launched by a mental health company in Asia.” The capital brings Intellect’s total funding to $23 million since the Y Combinator graduate’s inception in 2019 and will be used to commercialize it in more markets, expand its operations and grow its mental health system.
Intellect’s reporting and self-guided programs are available in 15 languages. Although there is a consumer app, the company primarily uses a B2B2C model, with companies offering it as an employee benefit. His customers include Merck, Philips, Foodpanda, Singtel, Shopee, Omnicom Media Group and ardn. It currently serves 3 million users in more than 60 countries and has therapists and coaches in 20 countries.
Founder and CEO Theodoric Chew told TechCrunch that the decision was made to request an extension rather than move to a Series B because the company is in a strong position and generating revenue. “Given the current economic climate, we wanted to put it in a better position for the next two years and beyond so that we have a strong war chest and aren’t distracted.”
Intellect mainly sells to regional hubs with many conglomerates and headquarters. Core markets are, for example, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Currently, most customers are from Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Intellect’s platform consists of two components. The first is the tech product, which includes its self-guided programs and apps. The second is the clinical team of trainers, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Chew said the company works with professionals in each market to ensure culturally competent care.
“It’s something we’ve thought about very carefully from day one,” he said. “Essentially what makes sense for Intellect in each region. It’s about having a product hyperlocalized for every culture, region and country. To give an example, if someone is struggling in Thailand or Hong Kong, it’s very different than Singapore in terms of the stress they have.”
Although Intellect is available in 15 languages, Chew emphasizes that his goal isn’t just to translate the same material.
“We work with vendors in each market, clinicians, psychologists, a team to ensure we not only translate but also have examples and scenarios for the local context and that extends to our own network of vendors. he said. “Aside from the app being localized in pretty much every country in APAC today, we have a whole network of local, native professionals in the field.”
When someone logs into Intellect for the first time, they are prompted via chat to speak to a vendor. According to Chew, this is important because it leads to the greatest user retention. “The majority of people in Asia have never seen a professional therapist or coach, so this is a lot of news for them.”
The mental wellbeing tech space in Southeast Asia has grown rapidly in recent years. New examples include Meta-backed Ami, MindFi and Thoughtfull, as well as a number of startups focused on specific markets, such as Ooca in Thailand or Naluri in Malaysia.
“It’s definitely great to see more and more players pushing and coming into this space,” Chew said. “For us, I think that means more awareness and pressure to expand the category. It’s a huge cultural shift and boost that we’re building for. It won’t just be a zero-sum game from the start.”
Regarding Intellect’s differentiation, Chew said the primary goal is to be an end-to-end mental health care platform, ranging from their self-directed programs to mental health care.
In a statement, Jay Chen, Partner at Tiger Global, said: “With its technology-enabled, end-to-end holistic approach, Intellect is poised to become a leading provider of access to mental health care across Asia. We are excited to be working with the Intellect team as they build a flexible, responsive and modern system for a critical component of healthcare.”