Tech giant Meta is making its first investment in Asia in a startup called Ami. Using WhatsApp as its platform, Ami is using the power of mental health to help people across Asia. Meta owns WhatsApp and has invested in several startups with similar philosophies. The three investment companies include Ami, thoughtful, Intellect, and Wysa.
As a VC, Meta has made its first investment in the Asian market with a $3 million seed round for Ami, an app that helps employees deal with mental illness. The startup is co-founded by Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alum Justin Kim and CTO Beknazar Abdikamalov. Kim previously served as a product owner at Viva Republica, the company behind the finance super app Toss. Abdikamalov was a software engineer at Amazon before starting Ami. This round of funding follows an earlier $1M pre-seed round announced earlier this year. Ami’s mission is to make mental health easy and comfortable, and recent research suggests that 40% of its users use it after two months.
Ami, based in Singapore and Jakarta, is among the startups receiving funding. The company is planning to expand its reach throughout Asia. The company has successfully partnered with leading academic institutions in the region to develop its platform, offering concrete psychological help. Investors are attracted by the promise of mental health-related services for a global workforce. The company is also launching its service in the United States.
The New Product Experimentation team at Meta Ventures has invested in Singapore-based startup Ami, which provides mental health services to companies. Ami is based in Jakarta and Singapore and plans to expand throughout Asia. The company aims to improve workplace mental wellness by providing its users with a concrete platform. Meta is interested in investing in companies that can help their employees improve their mental health.
Ami’s platform pairs individuals with practitioners specializing in specific areas, such as stress or depression. Ami utilizes its know-how to research customer response patterns and make recommendations through this technology. Ami works around the limitations of the mental health counseling system in Singapore. Because practitioners are essential “coaches” rather than therapists, these practitioners are largely beneficial through referrals.
While the funding is critical to improving the quality of mental health care, investors are also interested in startups that will enable it to become more widely available. While some mental health solutions are still largely manual and expensive, technology can help people reach a point of treatment without leaving their homes. The startup has a consumer app that allows them to connect with therapists and mental health professionals via email and can also provide online therapy. In addition to this, it has 20 enterprise clients, including Carousell and FoodPanda. According to CEO Raj Mariwala, Intellect has a higher usage rate than traditional EAP helpline solutions.
The first round of Meta investment for Ami is significant, as the company has managed to gain 40% of its users after two months. The investment will help the company scale its business and improve its voice test, which detects the subtle signs of mental health. The company has also developed an enterprise API. The company expects to raise another $3 million from other investors to help it scale. The investment will help Ami build a platform for employees to communicate with their mental health professionals.
The company also announced that it would expand globally in the future, which is why the NPE has been rebranded as Meta. The NPE will focus on ideas that meet the needs of the rapidly evolving global society. The company plans to open an office in Nigeria in the next few years. In addition to Goodwater Capital, which has previously invested in Kakao and Coupang, the company also attracted the support of January Capital and the Collaborative Fund.
In December 2018, Meta announced global expansion plans. The new name “Meta” means “meta,” which is pronounced metal. The fund has previously invested in Kakao, Coupang, and Viva Repubblica. Goodwater Capital joined the round as well, along with January Capital and Collaborative Fund. This investment has led to the creation of a new office in Seoul.