Mental wellness startup MindFi operates throughout APAC, but wants to deliver “culturally competent” care in each of its markets. To do that, it develops programs for its app, available as an employee benefit, with local providers that take into account religion, gender stereotypes, racial representation, communication style and values, co-founder and CEO Bjorn Lee told TechCrunch.
Today the Singapore-based company announced it has closed an oversubscribed $2 million seed round, with participation from returning investors M Venture Partners and Global Founders Capital. Angel investors included Carousell co-founder Marcus Tan, Carro executive Kenji Narushima and Spin co-founder Derrick Ko.
MindFi (short for Mind Fitness) took part in Y Combinator’s summer 2021 cohort. It currently operates across the Asia-Pacific region, including Sinagpore, Hong Kong and Australia, and offers its services in 16 languages. Its corporate clients include Visa, Willis Towers Watson and Patsnap. In total, MindFi’s products serve 100,000 employees across 35 employers in 15 markets.
While mental health startups have gained a lot funding in the United States, especially during the pandemic, it is still a nascent space in much of Asia. MindFi is among a cluster of startups working to change that. Others that have recently raised funding include Intellect (another Y Combinator alum) and Thoughtfull.
The MindFi app contains self-directed mental wellness programs, community forums, group therapy and an AI-based matching system for coaches and therapists. Users’ profiles aggregate data from MindFi with information from their fitness wearables, including sleep, heart rate and daily activity.
Lee told TechCrunch that its seed funding will be used to accelerate the development of its AI engine, advance the integration of physiological data from wearables to MindFi’s mental health data and work with local experts to create in-app programs in its key APAC markets. Though Lee said there is a relatively low availability of licensed mental health professionals in APAC compared to the USA or Europe, it’s important to make sure its programs fit into diverse cultural contexts so users feel comfortable about getting support.
In a statement, M Ventures partner Mayank Parekh said, “Mental health has been traditionally overlooked in most countries, more so in fast-growth Asia. We feel the market is currently poorly served, and as founder-first investors, we are thrilled to work with the MindFi team, who together bring complementary skills and insight to solve a significant problem.”