Feb 24, 2022 - Economy

Scoop: Virtual mental health company Paraclete gets $1.5 million in pre-seed funding

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Paraclete, maker of an employer-facing virtual mental wellness offering, raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from Sovereign's Capital and several individual investors, the company's founder, Vineet Rajan, tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Behavioral health is a sizzling sub-sector of the digital health market, and Paraclete targets people with mental health needs other than depression, ADHD or anxiety, the conditions most commonly addressed.

  • The service is for people experiencing everyday life stresses and tumultuous life events, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce, Rajan tells Erin.
  • "This is for all those people in the middle — people who aren't necessarily experiencing major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder but who just need support navigating life challenges," says Rajan.

Details: Rajan, a Marine Corps veteran, and William Norvell, a former venture partner at Sovereign's Capital, founded Paraclete last September.

  • The pair are calling Paraclete's offering "SoulCare" because it links staff with guides — including licensed professional counselors as well as personal coaches — who are trained to speak to them confidentially about their needs.

How it works: Employees at member companies are matched with a guide based on the preferences they list in a brief, virtual onboarding process.

  • Individuals can meet virtually with their guide as many times as they'd like. Options include video chats and texts.
  • If and when a user expresses symptoms consistent with a higher-acuity condition like major depression, their guide is instructed to inform them about other resources better suited to their needs, says Rajan.
  • Paraclete recently inked a deal with its first public client, Moreland School District, which operates five elementary schools and two middle schools in San Jose, Calif.
    • "The principal and the janitor have access to the same exact support, and that matters a lot to me," Rajan says.

What's next: Paraclete plans to sign partnerships with public and private employers including school districts and other organizations.

Erin Brodwin co-authors the Axios Pro Health Tech deals newsletter. Start your free trial at AxiosPro.com.

Go deeper