Atoma Korean startup that helps users connect with mental health professionals through a MiNDCAFE mobile app plans to scale its service for growth with a $16.7 million Series B, three times oversubscribed in two months used to be.
With the recent funding, Atommerce plans to improve artificial intelligence and machine learning technology for its platform and invest in digital therapies specializing in mental illness. In addition, the proceeds will be used to increase the workforce.
The Seoul-based startup offers employers a virtual therapy program and a mental health benefit solution. CEO Kyu-Tae Kim said Referus Atommerce wants to build an ecosystem where patients, human experts and artificial intelligence work together to tackle mental illness by adding the AI chatbot service that can deliver therapy just like a human expert. The company’s AI chatbot RONI, which launched in December, supports human professionals by providing recommended answers, Kim said.
Atommerce claims more than 1 million app users in South Korea and 100 enterprise customers, including Naver, NHN, Shinhan Investment, Neowiz and Seoul Metropolitan Government. Approximately 200,000 employees of its B2B customers currently use the app through MiNDCAFE’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The company says it has more than 250 mental health specialists.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s growth. For example, sales in the first quarter of 2021 grew about 1200% compared to the first quarter of 2020. The company also says that sales have grown an average of 400% per year over the past two years.
The startup was founded in 2015 by Kim, who had overcome depression by undergoing therapy while studying in the United States. When he returned to South Korea, Kim decided to start MiNDCAFE, realizing that it is difficult to get help from mental health professionals because of social stigma, unlike in the US.
Although South Korea is a country with the highest suicide rate among the OECD countries due to various factors, including mental health problems, people were hesitant to turn to experts because of the stigma surrounding mental health problems, Kim said. But in recent years it has changed. Now most of the MZ generation users are adult women in the country, Kim added.
Atommerce plans to enter Japan in the first half of 2022 and aims to penetrate North America as early as the end of the year. The company’s service will be fully localized in terms of languages and user interface design, such as UX and UI, Kim told Referus. Asked about the next financing plan, the company is considering raising Series C in Q1 2023.
The latest round brings the company’s total financing amount to nearly $26 million. Series B was led by Hashed, with participation from E&Investment, K2 Investment and Samsung Next. Existing backers Insight Equity Partners and Korean pharmaceutical company GC Green Cross Holdings also participated in the round.
Kim said in a statement that the investment will help MiNDCAFE accelerate its growth with a mission to support people’s mental health through technology. In addition, Atommerce increases access to the mental health ecosystem.