Insomnia treatment app creator receives $3.3m Series A Investment

Developer of Sleepio backed by Index Ventures and Forward Partners

A start-up that has developed an online tool clinically proven to help people with poor sleep has raised $3.3m Series A investment from venture capital firms Index Ventures and Forward Partners.

Founded by Peter Hames and Professor Colin Espie of the University of Oxford, Big Health develops a range of behavioural medicine programmes delivered via web and mobile apps.

Its first product is Sleepio, an online tool which analyses a user’s sleeping habits and creates a personalised sleep improvement programme for users based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques.

Big Health claims Sleepio is the only programme of its kind to have been tested in a placebo-group randomised controlled trial, which concluded the tool was comparably as effective as face-to-face CBT.

The $3.3m Series A funding is the first venture capital funding for the company, which has previously been backed by angel investors including Esther Dyson, Peter Read, Gi Fernando and Rob Taylor.

It will be used to back the opening of a US office later this year, in addition to funding the development of new apps and programmes.

Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO of Big Health, said: “Five years ago I developed insomnia and, despite overwhelming evidence that CBT is the most effective treatment, all I could get from my GP was sleeping pills.

“By using tracked data and applying best practice from consumer technology, Big Health is making behavioural medicine accessible, affordable and usable – providing effective alternatives for those with problems such as insomnia and anxiety.”

Neil Rimer, co-founder and partner at Index Ventures, added: “We’re on the brink of a far-reaching change in the way healthcare is accessed and delivered.

“By focusing on conditions that can are best treated with cognitive behavioural therapy and making CBT available to those who need it most, when they need it, Big Health has the opportunity to be a defining company in the field of digital health. We’re delighted to be working with Peter, Colin and the team and to support them in their mission.”

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