A startup with an app that helps people get to sleep has raised £9 million

Colin & Peter Big HealthBig healthBig Health cofounders Peter Hames and Colin Espie.

Big Health, a UK digital health startup that’s aiming to reduce worldwide consumption of pills and potions, has raised $12 million (£9.15 million) to grow its company and build new apps and products that improve people’s mental health.

Founded in East London in 2010, Big Health is best known for its Sleepio app, which is designed to help people get to sleep using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques.

The company expanded to the US a year ago and Sleepio has now been deployed to over 750,000 employees at companies including LinkedIn and Comcast.

The latest funding round in Big Health was led by London-based venture capital firm Octopus Ventures, which has also invested in healthy snack startup Graze and gym chain GymBox. Other investors included Kaiser Permanente Ventures, returning investor Index Ventures, Sean Duffy (CEO of Omada Health), and JamJar Investments, the UK-based investment fund of the Innocent drinks founders. They join existing investors Esther Dyson and former Google Ventures partner Peter Read.

Peter Hames, cofounder and CEO of Big Health, said in a statement: “This new investment allows us to push on towards our goal of helping millions back to good mental health, by growing the number of companies we work with and evolving our products to help address an ever-wider range of mental health issues.

“But we’ll only achieve this goal — and firmly establish a new ‘digital medicine’ industry — by remaining committed to evidence-based solutions that deliver real outcomes for users.”

The company has published 14 academic papers of its own and claims that its products are built off the back of “trailblazing” scientific research.

Professor Colin Espie, cofounder and chief medical officer of Big Health, said in a statement: “We openly encourage independent investigators to evaluate our products and publish their findings. We believe an ethical approach to creating health solutions should be a critical value, not an inconvenience.”

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