Web Summit alumnus raises $1.25m for mental health platform

Frankie Health to create 20 jobs after securing financing from Hong Kong investor

Frankie Health co-founder James McGann

Frankie Health co-founder James McGann


Dublin-headquartered Frankie Health, a start-up that has developed a technology platform aimed at supporting employee mental wellbeing, has raised $1.25 million ( €1.03 million) in funding.

The company, founded last year by James McGann and Seb Poole, is to use the financing to add 20 new employees to its team over the next 12 months with roles across engineering, design and marketing.

The company has developed a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that uses machine learning to deliver personalised mental health support to remote teams. Frankie identifies when team members are suffering from anxiety, stress or burnout and offers personalised mental health support.

The solution offers a wide range of support including CBT exercises, video calls with therapists and guided meditations. It allows employers to provide a digital health service for its staff, enables therapists to offer online video sessions easily, and looks after bookings and payments.

Frankie uses end-to-end encryption for privacy and machine learning to improve effectiveness and all therapists locally must be aligned to Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP) and/or the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

According to Mr McGann, Frankie Health is tapping into an unmet need with the World Health Organisation estimating that mental health disorders affect one in four people. A 2019 Deloitte study shows that every £1 a company spends on their employees’ mental health delivers a £5 return on investment.

Hong Kong-based E15 VC led the investment and previously provided €250,000 to an earlier incarnation. The company co-founders first met their investor at Rise, a sister event of Web Summit, for which Mr McGann previously led global partnerships.

“We’re excited to lead Frankie’s seed round. The team combines incredible insights to mental health with the ability to develop scalable technology,” said Philip Liang, managing partner at E15 VC.

Mr McGann said he got the idea for the business after suffering from burnout and poor mental health while living and working in San Francisco. He found a passion for building mental strength, one shared by Mr Poole, who he met while both were working in South East Asia. Mr McGann is currently based in Dublin with Mr Poole in Melbourne, Australia.

“We’re building a scalable solution that will be able to offer a large range of different forms of support based on an understanding of where someone is in their personal mental health journey,’” said Mr McGann.

The service offering has already launched locally with a plan to have 100 therapists signed up by the end of the first quarter. Frankie is eying expansion in Britain later this year with plans to roll out the platform elsewhere from next year on.

“Frankie has the potential to scale to millions of people,” said Mr McGann.