Mental health has a ‘boom’ in demand for companies and boosts startups
Psychological wellness programs took a leap among companies
Mental health is no longer a taboo in companies, especially since burnout, the exhaustion linked to overwork, has become a globally recognized occupational disease. As a result, the demand for psychological wellness programs has jumped among companies, boosting both specialized startups and health companies that see a possibility of extra gains in the sector.
One of the symbols of this trend is Vittude, which connects people to psychologists and has programs aimed at improving mental health. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the company’s revenue has grown by 540%. Today, around 170 companies are clients, such as O Boticário, Renner and SAP. “We show companies that don’t care about people that they need to care about profit”, says Tatiana Pimenta, CEO of Vittude.
Another company that emerged in this market was Zenklub. Rui Brandão says he created the business after his mother suffered a burnout. For the executive, digital service has reduced prejudices about treatments. The number of corporate customers, in two years, jumped from 12 to 400. “If before, digital was seen as of poor quality, it has been proven that there are many benefits of access and convenience”, says Brandão. The startup has already enabled 1.3 million queries.
Concern about mental health has become an opportunity for companies in other health sectors, such as Gympass and Alice. Gympass created the Wellz platform. Rogerio Hirose, Gympass’s new business leader, says that the initiative seeks to meet a demand from companies that were already partners in the gym business. “Mental health awareness in companies has increased,” he says. The plan now is to take Wellz to more than ten countries where Gympass operates.
Alice, from health plans, also had its business boosted by the increase in mental health concerns. “There has been an increase in Brazilians’ concern about health in general – including mental health, which was also boosted by the covid-19 pandemic”, says Guilherme Azevedo, health leader at Alice.
Despite the rise in the market, experts say that startups need to improve their operational efficiency. Zenklub and Alice needed to review strategies and lay off a total of more than 100 people. Vittude also had financial difficulties, and only found itself when it won corporate customers.
Some are already projecting a wave of acquisitions between businesses operating in the mental health sector. “The market interested in the sector has increased a lot, and this draws the attention of investors to surf this growth of migration to the corporate market”, says Fabio Sanchez, partner at the M&A firm JK Capital. “We see a trend towards consolidation of the sector with large clinics to feed the entire chain of the sector. Due to contracts with companies, the mental health platform has a range of lives to serve, generating a host of potential customers for a buyer.”