Online therapy platform in fine Fettle after gaining backers

Start-up Fettle secures backing of a number of leading entrepreneurs in pre-seed round

Fettle co-founder Richard Stafford said the platform is being used by ‘several hundred clients’ weekly and has to date delivered thousands of hours of video therapy sessions. Photograph: iStock

Fettle co-founder Richard Stafford said the platform is being used by ‘several hundred clients’ weekly and has to date delivered thousands of hours of video therapy sessions. Photograph: iStock

 

Fettle, a new online platform that connects those seeking counselling with qualified therapists, is looking to raise at least €1 million in investment after encouraging a number of leading entrepreneurs to back it.

The brainchild of tech veteran Richard Stafford and Kollect founder John O’Connor, Fettle provides access to accredited psychotherapists for online counselling sessions on issues such as anxiety, grief and trauma. Prices start at €59 for a one-off session aimed at ensuring the therapist and client can work together, and go up to €276 a month for a premium package consisting of six sessions.

The start-up, which launched services in April, has just closed a €225,000 pre-seed funding round with backers such as Con Lehane, chief executive of Cork-based outsourcing company Zevas Communications. Other participants include Danny Hughes, chief executive of Fastway Couriers, and Chris Russell, who leads Waterford-based marketing company Thimba Media.

“Fettle is free for therapists to use and I pay them directly. Of paramount importance is that it only matches the supply with the demand. Fettle is not an online directory of hundreds of counsellors,” said Mr Stafford, who previously held senior roles at Salesforce and Oracle.

“I want to provide constant work for my therapists and the best customer experience for Fettle clients. So my business is driven by granular insight into our metrics and requirements in terms of modalities of therapy and areas of specialisation that our clients are looking for. Through our matching process we want to ensure the best therapeutic alliance possible between client and therapist,” he added.

Mr Stafford said the platform is being used by “several hundred clients” weekly and has to date delivered thousands of hours of video therapy sessions.

Oversubscribed

He said the pre-seed funding round was oversubscribed, with a number of potential investors attracted by the doubling of clients and revenues month-on-month. He said the start-up intends to raise at least €1 million in a seed funding round shortly.

The investment will be used to support growth, add more therapists to the platform and enhance the service offering. Mr Stafford said a number of new jobs are to be created across operations, client relationships and marketing over the next few months.

“Our therapists are handpicked and must meet the highest levels of accreditations from recognised associations such as the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to deliver therapy through our platform,” he said.

“Currently only 11 per cent of Irish people seek help through counselling, way below the 28 per cent average of the UK and the 49 per cent of the US. Fettle aims to address this imbalance by taking a mobile, digital-first approach, while making therapy meaningful, accessible and stigma-free for all,” he added.

Mr O’Connor, who chairs Fettle, previously co-founded and leads Kollect, a Waterford-based waste company that is listed on Scandinavia’s Nasdaq First North stock exchange. Kollect last week raised 30.2 million Swedish kronor (€2.97 million) through the exercise of warrants.