Mental health is one of the most pervasive challenges facing Americans today. According to America’s Mental Health 2019 report, 18.7 percent of American adults are currently dealing with a mental illness.
Despite its prevalence in society and its impact on everything from performance at work to basic day-to-day quality of life, 56.4 percent of adults and 61.5 percent of youths facing significant mental health issues do not receive the care that they need. While social stigma has long been an obstacle to receiving care, issues such as cost and basic access to necessary care options have kept treatment out of reach for far too many.
So when we decided to enter the mental health space, we were looking for a solution that would actually help people by tackling the challenges of access and stigma, while not relying entirely on prescription drugs (which have their own set of challenges). We wanted to find a product that was scalable and had the potential to leverage Samsung technology for long-term patient outcomes.
After an extensive search and vetting, we are excited to announce that we have invested in Big Health, a digital therapeutics platform that is tackling poor sleep, anxiety, and other mental health issues at scale.
Daylight, for worry and anxiety, and Sleepio, for sleep problems, are products that leverage proven cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. They’re backed by extensive clinical evidence, including more than 50 published papers and 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
As Big Health’s CEO Peter Hames told me in our first meeting, "With digital therapeutics, we are automating proven approaches that leverage cognitive and behavioral techniques, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to deliver consistent, and evidence-based healthcare which is as scalable as drugs."
5 reasons to be excited about Big Health
Big Health represents something new and exciting, not just for Samsung as a business opportunity, but for the overall future of mental health care.
Here’s why we’re excited to be investors:
A large & growing market
As noted above, a significant proportion of Americans are struggling with mental health issues and need help.
The indirect costs associated with a lack of productivity, accidents, injuries, or other problems stemming from poor sleep, anxiety, and other mental health challenges pose a real economic downside to the US economy.
Unfortunately today, the two most available options for people who suffer from these conditions are prescription drugs and expensive 1:1 therapy. Big Health is changing this paradigm.
Fully digital therapeutics
Unlike other digital health startups, Big Health has developed a fully digital therapeutics products that require no human intervention to administer care. By removing the need to connect users with medical professionals, Big Health has significantly improved its scale and reach potential.
An additional benefit of using a fully digital solution is its 24-7 availability. For example, when you’re awake at 3 a.m. and unable to fall asleep, you can simply open Sleepio and get the help you need. Similarly, if you suddenly feel overwhelmed by anxiety or unable to concentrate at work, you can use Daylight and be reminded of breathing techniques to relax and regain focus.
Of course, as SaaS software, Big Health generates software-sized margins.
A wealth of data
We now have more tools than ever to help us detect and track our health: wearables such as smart wristbands, watches, and smartphones. Big Health apps enable people to track their behavior and outcomes in real time and on the go.
With Big Health, my hope is to take our offerings to the next level by combining data from its best-in-class digital therapeutics for mental health issues with other biometric data measured by wearables to offer people deeper, data-driven insights into their health and wellbeing.
Navigating a complex go-to-market strategy
Recognizing the potential for digital therapeutics, CVS signed a strategic partnership with Big Health, making Sleepio accessible through its Caremark pharmacy benefits management (PBM) program as a part of the Vendor Benefit Management program. It is notable that Big Health is the first vendor in this new VBM initiative.
Having Sleepio in the PBM’s formulary not only simplifies billing and reimbursement for employers and employees but also reduces friction in Big Health’s go-to-market strategy.
Backed by clinical data and real-world outcomes
A core tenet of Big Health is to validate its products with data. It has an ongoing commitment to invest in clinical research and health economics studies. Equally important, it tracks outcomes data, which yields useful insights into user behavior, as well as the products’ effectiveness.
A core differentiator of Big Health is its investment in data. As mentioned above, Daylight and Sleepio have over 50 published papers and 13 RCT’s.
The Road Ahead
The Big Health team combines powerful research, design, product, and go-to-market strengths that give the company a significant advantage in the rapidly growing mental health digital services segment.
But Big Health is also more than just another promising tech company.
During these tense times, between the outbreak of COVID-19 and ensuing economic uncertainty, sleep issues and anxiety are more common than ever before. We are all going to need as much support as possible in getting through the challenges of the years ahead.
Big Health has demonstrated its commitment to making high-quality mental health care accessible to all; their mission is to "bring millions back to good mental health." We are proud to back such a passionate, visionary, and accomplished team.