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Bengaluru-based predictive healthcare startup Touchkin has secured $1.3 Mn in Seed funding round led by Kae Capital. A consortium of undisclosed angel investors also participated in Touchkin’s latest seed funding round.

As per reports, the newly-raised seed funding from Kae Capital will go into enhancing Touchkin’s AI chatbot Wysa.

Commenting on the development, Vidushi Kamani, an investment professional at Kae Capital said, “Combining passive sensing technology with a personalised AI coach changes the economics of the behavioural health and wellness industry globally. With Wysa, providers can increase the number of people supported per coach by 10-100x, with increased engagement, better monitoring and improved self-management.”

Kae Capital is an early-stage investment firm that backs tech startups in a variety of domains, such as ecommerce, education, consumer Internet, healthcare, and mobile. Most recently, Kae Capital invested an undisclosed amount of seed funding in Bengaluru-based online gaming startup, Hypernova.

Some of the other companies listed in Kae Capital’s portfolio are LoanTap, Gurugram-based Parentune, edtech startup Learntron, B2B marketplace WOTU and real estate management startup Azuro.

How Touchkin Looks To Make Mental Health Care Affordable

Touchkin is an AI-based predictive health care provider for elders that uses mobile-based social sensing to offer proactive personalised care. Touchkin’s proprietary prediction engine relies on machine learning to discern patterns in behaviour that may mean mental or physical ill-health. The platform also connects users with direct support to ensure early identification of symptoms in case of mental illness or age-related disorders.

Apart from Wysa, Touchkin’s portfolio of products also includes the StayClose app, which allows users to remotely monitor family’s well-being. The app is programmed to trigger alerts if their activity patterns indicate something is wrong.

Co-founder Jyotsana Aggarwal told Inc42 in an earlier interaction, “Mobile healthcare is a $46 Bn opportunity and the sensor technology needed for this is already in our hands. Our platform uses passive data from smartphone sensors to create a picture of a person’s well being and identifies potential health issues. This is very powerful because unlike most mobile health apps it doesn’t require any change in user behaviour.”

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In March 2016, the company reportedly raised $400K from a few angel investors including Alok Mittal (ex-Canaan Partners), Amit Gupta (co-founder of InMobi), Anuj Srivastava (CEO of Livspace), Himanshu Aggarwal (CEO of Aspiring Minds), Raghunandan G (co-founder TaxiForSure) and Puneet Agarwal (co-founder of Moneyview).

Wysa: A Mental Health Care Chatbot By Touchkin

The brainchild of Touchkin founders, Ramakant Vempati and Jyotsana Aggarwal, Wysa is envisioned as a virtual therapist facilitating emotional wellness via anonymous conversations.

Aimed at offering mental health care services at reduced costs, Wysa is widely used by people with behavioural disorders, including anxiety, depression, ADHD and OCD. Additionally, the technology is also engineered to provide support in cases of smoking cessation, diabetes and disabilities.

Launched in 2016, the chatbot has helped people cope with anxiety and depression through nearly three million conversations. According to the Touchkin team, its users are spread across 30 countries.

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Speaking about the chatbot’s role, Vempati said, “Our technology passively detects behavioural health issues from smartphone sensors and engages them through chat. In a trial with basic smartphones in semi-urban India, we could predict depression in people with diabetes to a 90% accuracy…sharing how they felt with a chatbot helped patients significantly and we saw depression symptoms reduce by 45% over 12 weeks.”

As stated by Vempati, Touchkin is also looking to enter the medical insurance sector with Wysa. To that end, the company has already partnered with Zurich-headquartered reinsurance firm Swiss Re.

Funding In The Mental Healthcare Space In India

In India’s mental healthcare space, startups that have received funding in recent times include Wayforward Health, Juno Clinic, and online psychological wellness platform InnerHour. In February 2017, InnerHour raised $450K in its first round of funding from financial advisory firm Batlivala & Karani Securities, investment firm Venture Works and others.

Later in March, Mumbai-based Juno Clinic secured $1.2 Mn in a Pre-Series A funding round from Atul Nishar (founder of Hexaware Technologies & Aptech Computers) and other individual investors. In June, Wayforward Health raised close to $1 Mn from Harsh Mahajan, a radiologist; Farhan Naqvi, a technology investment banker with Deutsche Bank; and Sreepathy Viswanathan, senior vice president of M&A Partners.

With the $1.3 Mn Seed funding from Kae Capital, Touchkin is looking to leverage its AI-driven technology to reach more people with behavioural disorders across the world.

(The development was reported by TOI)

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