Why we invested in HelloBetter
Mental health conditions were one of the last diseases to be recognized as such and treated accordingly. Yet they are one of the most widespread diseases: 27% of the population suffer from mental health conditions to a greater or lesser extent. Despite this, mental illnesses still carry a certain social stigma. In the last decade, while much has been done to treat mental health problems like any other medical condition, very little has been done to treat them on a large scale. Face-to-face (F2F) treatments are often time-consuming, and expensive, and their success often depends on a trusting relationship with the psychologist.
HelloBetter is a German-based startup founded in 2015 by Dr. Hanne Horvath, Prof. David Ebert, and Dr. Elena Heber. It was spun out of a research project at Leuphana University Lüneburg in 2011 in the field of digital mental health care. With its courses, HelloBetter aims to provide millions of patients with fast and easy access to digital therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions. While F2F therapies will always be necessary, digital therapeutics (DTx) offer efficient alternative treatments for mental health conditions on a large scale at an attractive price point. In addition, HelloBetter courses offer patients the opportunity to receive asynchronous feedback from a psychologist at any time, allowing de facto human interaction with the patient if needed.
Digital care solutions: The future of healthcare.
One of the reasons we invested in HelloBetter is that we believe that digitization of care will become the norm in healthcare systems of the future. As social requirements are becoming more demanding, putting our health under constant stress, HelloBetter is able to provide mental health support to the patients at scale. Additionally, all HelloBetter courses — 10 in total are currently available — are backed up by scientific evidence and therefore offer more than “free” programs that can be found on YouTube or via various mobile apps. This medical recognition was critical for our decision to invest as it gives HelloBetter a clear unfair advantage. In its founding country Germany, HelloBetter is partnering with several health insurers and was able to register five of its programs (Stress & Burnout, Vaginismus, Chronic Pains, Diabetes & Depression, Panic) under the DiGA framework between December `21 and April `22 — a federal law that allows recognized digital treatments to be reimbursed by health insurers. Finally, HelloBetter has expanded its activities significantly since the start of the commercialization of its solution in 2018 and we are convinced that this growth trend will not be halted any time soon.
Opportunity to be the advocate for digital therapeutic solutions in Switzerland.
In Switzerland, our healthcare system is not yet sufficiently transformed to fully exploit the potential of digital care solutions such as HelloBetter. Today, DTx are mainly used as a preventive tool rather than as a stand-alone treatment. Prescriptions are not yet reimbursed by health insurers, although some arrangements already exist under supplementary insurance policies. This means that the relatively strict health regulations towards DTx in Switzerland currently still hinder HelloBetter’s expansion in our home market. However, HelloBetter can establish itself as a reference service provider among Swiss mental health stakeholders thus advocating for the integration of DTx into the Swiss healthcare system. A project with MedBase and our venture building arm at Sparrow Ventures is already underway in this regard.
A multi-skilled founding team tackling DTx growth potential in the DACH region and beyond.
HelloBetter is now an organization with more than 100 employees, led by an experienced founding team. The initial founders Prof. David Ebert (CSO), Dr. Hanne Horvath (BizDev), and Dr. Elena Heber (Content & Research) were joined by Hannes Klöpper (CEO), Philip Ihde (COO), Johannes Schatz (Marketing), Amit Gupta (Engineering) and Pierre Cantegril (Product). Each of them brings important skills to the table and we believe it is a great combination of business, technical and medical acumen that will enable HelloBetter to continue to grow in the DACH region and beyond.
We are proud to support HelloBetter on its growth journey and look forward to helping the team promote the effectiveness of digital therapies in mental health.