Startup Spotlight: Headspace’s digital health platform
Santa Monica, California-based Headspace offers a mindfulness and mental health-oriented app.
The company emphasises its scientific approach to validation the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, having conducted over 70 clinical research studies with organisations such as Carnegie Mellon, University of California San Francisco and Stanford University.
Headspace offers consumers content tailored to different needs such as stress, anxiety, sleep and focus. The company has also launched initiatives targeted at business instead, such as Headspace Health, which it says is aimed at integrating mindfulness into healthcare.
Since its foundation in 2010, the company has raised $215.9mn across nine funding rounds. Earlier this year, the company’s Series C saw the company raise $53mn from lead investor blisce/, alongside Waverly Capital, Times Bridge, The Chernin Group, Spectrum Equity, Counterpart Advisors and Advancit Capital. Alongside that equity was a further $40mn in debt capital from Pacific Western Bank.
In a press release, the company’s CEO and co-founder Richard Pierson said: “Headspace has shown millions of people the power of using mindfulness to mitigate stress, anxiety, and other everyday issues, while continuing to advance the field through clinically-validated research.
“As we think about the next ten years and beyond, we are focused on harnessing this power and applying it to other areas of our members’ lives to help them create healthy routines that last a lifetime – whether that is through our Headspace consumer app, the work we currently do with hundreds of employers, or with healthcare providers as we look to deliver better access. We are excited to work with leading global investors who share our vision to improve the health and happiness of the world.”
Recognising the toll the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is taking on the mental health of many, the company is offering a free year of its Headspace Plus subscription to the unemployed.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”