thymia raises $2.7m to expand video game-inspired mental health AI

thymia, a healthtech startup building gamified AI tools to revolutionise how we assess and monitor mental health, has announced a $2.7 million seed round to expand the reach and capabilities of its pioneering technology.

The round was led by Kodori Ventures and joined by new and existing investors including Entrepreneur First Syndicate Room’s Access, Calm/Storm and Form Ventures. Angels include Amanda M Cardinale and Nadav Rosenberg (an early investor in Kheiron Medical). thymia is also enabling individuals to join the round through a Crowdcube community fundraise.

Neuroscientist Dr Emilia Molimpakis was inspired to start thymia following her best friend’s struggle with depression whilst at university. Doctors and a psychiatrist failed to spot the severity of her condition. The experience inspired Emilia to build better tools to revolutionise the way we assess and monitor mental health.

Currently, doctors use subjective questionnaires and observation to assess cognition. But the system is highly subjective and doesn’t enable clinicians to monitor symptom changes in between appointments.

To make mental health assessments more objective and empirical, thymia has created AI-powered video games to analyse millions of biomarkers - including patients’ voices, facial expressions, movement and behaviour - and accurately identify symptoms of mental health conditions more easily. Currently, thymia presents up to 84% accuracy in detecting clinical depression and anxiety.

The technology has been designed to dramatically reduce the time to diagnosis for mental health problems like depression, with the aim of helping clinicians identify the right intervention sooner and providing insights into patients’ condition between appointments.

Currently, the technology can detect clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as non-clinical indicators of mental wellness including exhaustion, stress, levels of self-esteem and agitation. It’s being used in mental health and wellness settings globally to power earlier intervention for mental health problems and give care providers deeper insights into patients’ cognitive health.

The thymia platform uses “multimodal” ethical AI to accurately spot mental health symptoms. Its AI models are the only ones globally that combine voice, video and behaviour data in this way. The models have been developed using thymia’s proprietary data set of over 1 billion data points collected from over 5000 individuals with depression, generalised anxiety, ADHD and health age-, gender- and language-matched controls: the largest dataset of its kind.

thymia is already being used for non-clinical mental wellness assessments, but this latest injection of funding will be used to scale the technology in the clinical space through medical device approval. It will also be used to build out the AI infrastructure that powers the thymia platform; and to develop the tool to detect the symptoms of ADHD. The aim is for thymia’s technology to enable clinicians to differentiate between different cognitive disorders which can present similar symptoms; such as dementia, depression and ADHD.

The raise follows a year where Gabrielle Powell, formerly Director of Growth at Doctify, joined thymia’s leadership team as COO and co-founder. The company also expanded into four new continents: thymia’s technology is now set to be used across the UK, U.S., Spain, Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria, with plans to expand to three more countries this year.

This raise will bring thymia’s total funding to date to $3.5m. thymia will join a number of early-stage mental health innovation companies in the Kodori Ventures portfolio, including Clerkenwell Health.

Dr Emilia Molimpakis, neuroscientist and co-founder and CEO at thymia, comments: “Our mission at thymia from day one has been to make mental health assessments faster, more objective and more reliable. Mental health is complex, but existing assessment methods fail to pick up on the billions of ways different mental health conditions can show up: something I know all too well following my experience with my best friend. As a result, too many people go mis- or undiagnosed; or spiral before anyone realises it’s happening.

“Our technology is revolutionary. By combining cutting edge neuroscience and ethical, explainable AI, we have built a tool that can help people get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan in place faster than ever before. It’s all about arming clinicians with the very best tools so that they can do the very best by their patients.

“We’re so grateful for the support our investors have shown us so far; and we look forward to this next stage of our journey as we look to optimise and expand our technology and get it in the hands of the people who need it most.”

Alexander Kuznetsov at Kodori Ventures, comments: “Mental healthcare is one of the most globally pressing issues of our time, and it is essential that we find smarter, innovative ways to help diagnose and treat those struggling with mental health conditions. Kodori Ventures is proud to be backing the team at thymia in their pioneering mental health work. With their recent expansion to four continents, they truly are a global force to be reckoned with in the field of mental health care, and I’m excited to see the impact of their work in the way we diagnose and understand mental health.”

thymia is collaborating with several world-leading academic institutions, including King’s College London, University College London and Oxford University; and is one of twelve startups selected for AWS’s Healthcare Accelerator. In 2022, thymia’s CEO Dr Emilia Molimpakis gave a TED Talk about using video games to detect depression.