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Unlimited Messaging Therapy Startup Talkspace Raises $2.5M From Spark Capital And Softbank

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch 13/05/2014 Ryan Lawler

Therapy startup has changed the model for those seeking help, providing an affordable alternative typical weekly talk therapy sessions. It’s just raised $2.5 million from Spark Capital and Softbank to make its unique, unlimited messaging model for therapy more widely available.

Talkspace is aiming to reach some of the more than 45 million people who are diagnosed with mental health issues each year. Of that number, less than 40 percent typically end up receiving help. So it’s a big problem, and Talkspace is taking a unique approach to solving it.

By allowing users to send an unlimited number of messages to a qualified therapist, the startup also hopes that it can provide more immediate and continuous help to users.

Rather than schedule weekly sessions, Talkspace users are able to send anonymous messages to licensed therapists, either through the web or its newly launched iOS app. The company has a couple of payment plans: Users can pay $49 a week on an ongoing basis, $25 a week paid monthly, or $12 a week paid yearly.

It’s an on-demand and ongoing model for those who seek counseling, according to CEO Oren Frank. It’s also about 80 percent less expensive than more traditional therapy costs.

To make its service more available to users, Talkspace has launched mobile apps on iPhone and iPad, so that users can send and receive messages while on the go.

It’s raised some funding to help attract more therapists and users to its platform. The $2.5 million round of funding was led by Spark Capital and SoftBank. Along with the funding, AOL president of video Ran Harnevo has joined the company’s board.

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