Perhaps it is a statement of the kind of year 2020 has been that Wysa, a mental health and sleep app which won Google’s Best App of 2020 award, is also now one of Google Assistant fund’s first investments in Asia, as part of the Google Assistant Investments program.
Covid-19 has changed how the world looks at mental health. Rather than an illness that is faced by 1 in 4 people, it is now something that each of us has struggled with in times of crisis and isolation.
Wysa’s platform covers over 10 million lives and has helped over three million people in sixty-five countries build skills to manage their own mental health. Wysa’s AI uses natural language understanding to understand voice and text input and guides people through personalized therapeutic techniques based on clinical evidence.
“The Google Assistant Investments program was launched in 2018 for early-stage startups that share our passion for the digital assistant ecosystem, helping to push new ideas forward and advance the possibilities of what digital assistants can do. In the post-Covid world, managing our mental health is no longer a medical issue, but a part of everyone’s daily routine. We all need a space to vent, to feel heard, and to learn to manage negative thoughts sleep, and anxiety. Wysa’s explainable AI – combining natural language understanding with clinical assurance – helps everyone build skills to manage their mental health in the new normal.” said Moez Kaderali, program manager for the Google Assistant Investments Program.
With a near-perfect rating on the Play Store, Wysa’s work with healthcare partners like NHS and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital shows that over 91% of people dealing with depression and anxiety find it helpful. It was rated as the #1 clinician-approved app by ORCHA for the National Health Service in the UK and launched nationally by the Government of Singapore as a public service. Wysa was also amongst the first batch of startups in the Google For Startups launchpad program in India in 2018. Under the program, Wysa gained access to experts and mentors to improve its machine learning and AI capability, user experience and drive user engagement and growth across more than sixty-five countries.
In its vision to help over 50 million users by 2025, Wysa sees both voice and language as playing a key role. “We set out to solve for all our mental health, and have been able to show that it is possible to create access at scale that is low cost and clinically assured. In the next phase, we will go beyond the barriers of literacy and language, using Wysa on voice with local languages to create access to mental health for the next billion. In this vision, Google Assistant Fund is our ideal partner”, said Jo Aggarwal, co-founder, and CEO of Wysa.
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