Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, OpenUp provides psychological help online. The capital injection came from Rubio Impact Investors, Achmea and a several private investors
- OpenUp has raised €15m for international growth.
- The healthcare company offers online mental health help through a corporate subscription.
- By offering early support, the company expects to counteract the overload in conventional care
- The investment came from Rubio Impact Ventures, Achmea and private investors
Amsterdam-based psychology company OpenUp has raised €15m from investors – a hefty sum for a young Dutch healthcare technology startup.
The company offers online “mental well-being” help and was founded during the coronavirus pandemic. Users can access knowledge on their own, says founder and psychologist Gijs Coppens. But if needed, they can easily get in touch with psychologists employed by the company.
The platform is mostly paid for by employers, who take out subscriptions for their employees. Money from health insurers does not come into it, says Coppens: “I do talk to them, but our concept fits poorly within the current insurance model.”
A lot of money is currently being dedicated to the digitalisation of healthcare. For example, healthcare is one of the spearheads at tech company Amazon and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is putting billions into the sector.
In the Netherlands, investors are increasingly interested in software companies focused on healthcare too. For example, software investor Main Capital Partners backed Enovation, a provider of digital exchange of medical information, and SDB Groep which develops training and workforce planning software for healthcare employees, among others.
Growing to 1 million users
OpenUp now has contracts with 550 organisations, including payment company Adyen and retail chain Rituals. Employees of these companies can get “unlimited access” to help, should they wish.
The company now has some 150,000 connected users, about a third of whom log in. With the investment, Coppens wants to grow that number to one million.
By providing materials and exercises at an early stage, many people can be kept away from the overburdened mental healthcare system, which struggles with long queues, according to the founder. Coppens says: “The need for a good conversation is great, and we want to teach people how to do that. That way we can prevent people from coming into care.’
Nevertheless, some 2% to 3% of OpenUp users still end up visiting their GP. “They would have ended up with mental health care anyway,’ says Coppens. “But now probably at an earlier stage.” Hard evidence for his thesis does not yet exist, the psychologist admits. “In the future, when we are bigger, we will be able to measure it better.’
The NIP, the Dutch professional association for psychologists, welcomes low-threshold access to “knowledge about mental health and what someone can do about it themselves”, writes a spokesman. If someone has a clear and treatable condition, it is usually more effective if a specialist helps. The NIP therefore thinks it is important that providers such as OpenUp make it clear what users can and cannot expect.
OpenUp is getting the capital injection from Rubio Impact Ventures and insurer Achmea, through the Achmea Innovation Fund. Private investors are also participating, including Adriaan Nühn, until recently chairman of the supervisory board of food delivery company Just Eat, and David Vismans, who was responsible for product development at travel site Booking.com. Coppens plans to invest the money raised in further development of the app and materials, and international expansion.
OpenUp founder Coppens previously started iPractice, a psychology practice that makes relatively extensive use of video calling and other technologies. OpenUp and iPractice are part of the same group of companies.
This article originally appeared in Dutch business newspaper FD, on 9 October 2022