An Ottawa entrepreneur is seeking to raise millions of dollars in new financing for her latest health-tech venture after seeing surging demand for the software platform aimed at making it easier for patients to access therapists and other health-care professionals.
The product, dubbed iHealthOX, is the brainchild of Terri Storey. Storey’s previous startup, Snapclarity, made an app designed to help users connect with accredited therapists and raised $1.5 million in funding before being sold to Vancouver-based CloudMD last year.
While Snapclarity focused on providing on-demand access to therapists via mobile devices, Storey says iHealthOX aims to offer patients a smorgasbord of treatment options through a variety of methods.
The more than 1,500 service providers now affiliated with the platform include life coaches, social workers, naturopaths, physiotherapists, mental health nurses and nutritionists. This week, the company announced it was partnering with Vancouver-based online retailer Kits Eyecare to add prescription glasses and contact lenses to its offerings.
“That’s kind of our goal is to be able to … take this old-school legacy health plan and really create this marketplace of wellness,” says Storey, who is also the firm's CEO. “We’re really looking at changing the whole benefit experience for people.”
"We’re really looking at changing the whole benefit experience for people."
The platform surveys users about their emotional health as well as their financial situation, job satisfaction levels and other metrics. It then feeds that data into proprietary software to generate a list of recommended treatments and match patients with the appropriate professionals.
Users connect with providers via phone, text or email to create a personalized care program that includes regular check-ins and followups.
Dozens of companies and organizations now use iHealth OX to help deliver health-care services to their employees, including Shopify, RBC and the government of Ontario. The firm says the platform now covers 150,000 Canadian employees, who’ve booked 45,000 virtual and in-person appointments.
Storey says the startup, which charges customers a monthly subscription fee and takes a cut of health-care providers’ billings, is booming as stress and anxiety among Canadian workers have spiked during the pandemic.
After raising $750,000 in an oversubscribed friends-and-family financing round, iHealthOX is now setting its sights on a seed round of up to $3 million to bankroll a planned expansion into the U.S. and other growth initiatives.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, research showed that one in Canadians will experience mental illness during their lifetime and half of those suffering from depression never seek treatment. Mental illness also has massive economic repercussions, costing the Canadian economy $50 billion a year in lost productivity.
Storey says the pandemic has made many people’s mental states even more fragile, putting more pressure on an already strained health-care system and dealing the economy an even bigger blow.
She says iHealthOX is designed to make mental-health treatment more accessible, adding employers are eagerly embracing the concept.
“We think stress and burnout are probably the two really big issues worldwide,” Storey says. “I think it’s one of those things where leaders have definitely said, ‘Well-being and mental health is a top priority for employers and governments.’”
Now at 42 employees, iHealthOX was formed last year through the merger of another company Storey led, Terrace Wellness Group, and Charlie Wellbeing, a Vancouver firm whose platform connects teens to licensed therapists and psychologists via desktops and mobile devices.
The new venture has seen its weekly income stream grow tenfold in the past two months and is on pace to crack $4 million in revenues for the year. Storey says the fledgling firm is only beginning to tap into its potential.
“We see this real shift in the market,” she says. “It’s moving fast right now.”