Israeli-founded TalkSpace Raises $31m for Online Psychotherapy

U.S. startup offers psychotherapy by text, voice and video

An ad for the online psychotherapy service TalkSpace.
Gil Margolin

TalkSpace, a New York-based startup founded by an Israeli couple that offers psychotherapy online, said Wednesday it had raised $31 million to market its services.

Founded by CEO Oren Frank and Roni Frank, head of clinical services, TalkSpace offers therapy through its website or mobile apps, offering a wide range of services including couples therapy, packages for businesses and help in ending dependency on social media.

With prices starting as low as $40 a week on a monthly basis, the company says if offers a more affordable and convenient way to improve mental health that has been used by some 500,000 people. It says 70% of its clients have never previously had therapy.

The company employs 70 people, including a team of therapists who provide consulting and referral services followed by interaction with clients by text, voice and video. The service, however, is available only in English and not in Israel.

The Israeli venture capital fund Qumra Capital led the round, which brings TalkSpace's total fundraising to $60 million since it was founded in 2012. Existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Spark Capital, SoftBank, Compound Ventures and FirstTime joined in the round, TalkSpace said.

“Beyond TalkSpace’s strong growth, we see a huge opportunity to prove that technology cannot only make our material needs more accessible, but is also an excellent fit to help far more complicated, emotional and personal needs,” said Erez Shachar, Qumra’s managing partner, who will be joining TalkSpace’s board.

The company has also entered into a partnership with Magellan Health, a U.S. company that provides managed health care. TalkSpace said it would work with Magellan to expand into commercial markets and bring its platform to more people who want mental health care without the costs and inconvenience of traditional therapy.

Last December The Verge, a technology and media news site, accused TalkSpace of ethically questionable practices in an extensive investigative piece. Oren Frank wrote a response on the website Medium denying most of the allegations.