When the pandemic hit, Vittude — an online therapy startup — saw demand for its services skyrocket, along with cases of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A few months ago, the startup encountered another positive business driver: burnout was recognized by the World Health Organization as a work-related illness with a huge impact on companies.
“If an employee leaves due to burnout, that would now be classified as an occupational injury,” Vittude founder Tatiana Pimenta told Brazil Journal. “This forces the company to pay more taxes to Social Security and gives the worker room to go to court. Also, when the person returns, they have 12 months of stability.”
This shift is driving organizations to recalculate and proactively invest in employee mental health — fueling Vittude’s B2B vertical. To meet demand, the startup just raised a round of R$35 million. Série A was led by Crescera Capital and participated in Scale Up Ventures’ Endeavor Fund. Redpoint eVentures, which provided the check for the seed round, also followed suit.
Vittude will primarily use the funds to grow its B2B business, which already employs more than 600,000 people across 160 companies, including giants like Banco do Brasil, L’Oréal and O Boticário. Vittude has another 300 companies in negotiations, and the plan is to triple customer numbers — and revenue — by the end of the year.
Companies pay a lifetime fee for access to the startup platform and advice, and then pay for the advice provided by their employees. Some companies pay the full consulting fee; Others only a fraction of the value. Vittude’s solution includes mental health diagnosis for client’s employees as well as training for managers on how to manage mental health issues.
“Welcoming employees is a very complex topic,” says the founder. “The real truth is that most executives aren’t even able to manage their own stress…let alone the stress of employees asking for help.” One of the big assets of the startup, says Tatiana, is its base of Psychologists – who, according to them, are selected by strict regulations.
The startup has more than 800 active psychologists — meaning licensed and offering services — and another 15,000 on a waiting list. For the selection of professionals, there is a technical examination and another conducted by a team of Vittude psychologists. “We create a score based on responses from online surveys and interviews and create a ranking based on that,” she said.
Psychologists pay a subscription of R$299 per month to be part of the platform and Vittude also deserves an award for the value of the consultations. To improve the patient experience, the startup has developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that matches the patient and therapist and suggests the best professional for each case.
Next Step? Build another algorithm that would allow companies to “predict that an employee is at risk of developing a mental illness” – which would allow for more preventive action.