Mental health startup Spill raises £2 million to help companies emotionally support their employees
- Spill today announces it has raised a £2million seed round led by Ada Ventures
- The London-based startup offers all-in-one mental health support through a Slack app, allowing employees to speak with qualified therapists over video, phone or message
- New research commissioned by Spill finds that 38% of tech sector workers have considered therapy for the first time in the last year
- Since launching its Slack app in January 2020, Spill has grown from 0 to 100+ paying companies in less than 12 months, including Typeform, Depop and Bulb
London, 18th January 2021: Spill today announces that it has raised £2 million in a seed round led by Ada Ventures. Spill is a London-based startup which provides remote mental health support for companies through the workplace messaging tool, Slack.
High demand for employee mental health support drove rapid growth for Spill in 2020. After launching its Slack app last January, Spill grew from 0 to 100+ paying companies in less than 12 months, and counts Typeform, Bulb and Depop as clients.
New research by Spill and Censuswide found that 38% of tech sector workers have considered therapy for the first time this year. The data also indicates that the need for psychological support may be greater for startups: 44% of those at smaller companies (10-99 people) considered therapy for the first time this year, compared to 31% in larger companies (100+ people). More than 1 in 4 (26%) tech workers also felt their company had failed to provide adequate mental health support in the last year.
Previously a message-based therapy app for iOS and Android, Spill relaunched in January this year to provide all-in-one mental health support through Slack. An employee at a company signed up to Spill can book a video session with a qualified therapist in just three clicks. Alternatively, they can message a therapist and receive a considered reply by the next day, or browse mental health tools and content — all through Slack.
Spill employs over 30 therapists around the U.K., who work remotely over video, phone or message. All are registered with the BACP, NCS, or an equivalent professional body, have at least 200 hours’ clinical experience, and a minimum three-year relevant degree. Among users who did a course of six therapy sessions, Spill was more effective at reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety than either NHS therapy or a course of antidepressants.
The £2 million was raised from Ada Ventures, with partner Francesca Warner joining the Spill board, along with Seedcamp and the government’s Future Fund initiative. Spill will use the money to develop proactive tools that help to create a more psychologically considerate workplace, moving from mental health treatment towards prevention. The raise follows a pre-seed investment of £650k in 2019 led by Passion Capital.
Calvin Benton, Founder at Spill, said:
“The events of the past year have made workplace mental health issues front of mind for many, but these are problems which have long needed solving. It’s vital that, in today’s knowledge-driven economy, workers have access to high-quality mental health support that’s barrier-free, stigma-free, and free at the point of use. And that’s exactly what Spill will be able to deliver dramatically more of with the help of this latest funding round, led by Ada Ventures. We’re excited to help more companies create environments where people feel secure, engaged, and fundamentally understood — which is not only the humane thing to do for the team, but it’s the smart thing to do for the business. ”
Francesca Warner, Founding Partner at Ada Ventures, said:
“We’ve been looking to invest in a company tackling the mental health crisis our society faces for some time. We’ve struggled to find products that are accessible, affordable, effective, and used regularly. Spill’s product is all of these things. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to invest in this exceptional team and look forward to the product being available to millions of people in the years to come.”
Jenny Buch, People Operations Director at Typeform (a Spill client), said:
“Spill is helping us build a psychologically safe environment where people can bring their true selves to work. As a company, openly showing that you care about the mental health of your teams is key to reducing the risk of burnout in our ever-busy industry. Spill has been key to bringing this message across at Typeform. What sets Spill apart is that there’s no stigma in using or talking about the service and as such Spill has been a very important asset for the mental health of our teams in 2020 — and beyond.”
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11 Spill facts:
- Spill launched its Slack app in January 2020 and grew from 0 to 100 paying companies in less than 12 months
- Since then, over 1,000 people have done video therapy sessions on Spill
- The average time between booking and having a Spill video therapy session is 4.5 days, whereas on the NHS, 86% of people get a therapy session within six weeks
- Spill employs over 30 therapists who work remotely around the U.K.
- 69% of companies who took on Spill came through a word-of-mouth recommendation
- The average feedback score for a Spill video therapy session in 2020 was 9.3 out of 10
- Among people who did a course of six therapy sessions on Spill, average reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms was 41% and 52% (compared to 33% and 45% for antidepressants over the same time period)
- Spill saw a substantial improvement in scores of depression or anxiety in 84% of people who had a course of six therapy sessions. For context, using the same measure, the NHS sees a substantial improvement in 67% of people
- 53% of people doing therapy on Spill have never accessed mental health support before
- 59% of people who message a Spill therapist then go on to have a video therapy session
- 42% of people who have a Spill therapy session are male
About Spill: Spill was founded by Calvin Benton, a 28-year-old software developer from Yorkshire whose parents are both therapists. He saw first-hand how life-changing therapy could be, and yet also how difficult it was for most people to get, whether that was due to long waiting lists, the concern it would be seen as a weakness, or the high price of going private. Spill aims to flip all that on its head, by making mental health support barrier-free, stigma-free, and free at the point of use. In 2021, Spill will move into mental health prevention as well as treatment, with a raft of new features in development to make working practices more psychologically considerate.
About the research: Survey data is taken from a survey of 1,460 employed adults (aged 16+) across the UK, with a total of 312 workers in the IT and technology sector. The research was conducted by Censuswide Research on behalf of Spill, from 29th December 2020 – 4th January 2021. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
*26% refers to a combination of ‘No, not really’ and ‘No, not at all’.
About Ada Ventures: Ada Ventures is a $50m seed fund backed by several unicorn founders and the British Business Bank focused on overlooked founders and overlooked markets.