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Startup using voice to quantify therapy raises $20M

Erin Brodwin
Apr 5, 2022
Illustration of the tape coming out of a cassette in the shape of a red cross.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Eleos Health, a startup using voice technology to analyze behavioral health sessions, raised $20 million in Series A funding, CEO and co-founder Alon Joffe tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: A sizzling subsector, behavioral health is attracting unprecedented interest from venture and private equity backers alike. But while most of the vertical's buzziest companies are providers of therapy, Eleos helps quantify that therapy.

  • "A big part of behavioral health treatment is the conversation itself," Joffe tells Axios. "So my co-founders and I thought, 'How come we don’t understand the mechanics of these conversations — how do they help improve outcomes?'"

Details: The deal was led by F-Prime Capital and Eight Roads Ventures. Previous backers aMoon Fund, lool ventures and Arkin Holdings also joined the round, bringing Eleos’ total funding to $28 million.

  • Joffe notes that Eleos has seen its valuation quadruple in the past nine months.

Context: Joffe launched Eleos in Boston in March 2020 with co-founders Dror Zaide and Alon Rabinovich. What they didn't know at the time was how much demand for behavioral health tools would skyrocket in the coming years.

  • "We’re in a vertical with a tsunami of demand and flat supply," Joffe tells Axios.
  • Active users of Eleos include Pennsylvania-based addiction treatment center Gaudenzia Home, Massachusetts-based Brookline Center for Community Mental Health and Ohio-based mental health organization Coleman Health Services.

How it works: With consent, Eleos uses artificial intelligence to analyze conversations between behavioral health clinicians and patients. The goal is to reduce clinicians' administrative workloads and quantify the results of therapy.

  • The tool overlays mainstream electronic health records and is designed to identify commonly used words or themes and track how those change over time in accordance with a given treatment modality.
  • All data is de-identified to protect patient confidentiality, Joffe says.
  • Eleos also tracks how much time a clinician spends listening versus talking in a given session, and how frequently they interrupt patients.
  • Joffe says the process takes 2-5 minutes and reduces the time clinicians spend documenting sessions by an average of 40%.

Yes, but: The research on how Eleos impacts patient outcomes is still early, and the bulk of that research comes with significant caveats.

  • For example, a 2020 paper published in the journal JMIR Mental Health concluded that Eleos "appears to be a feasible, sustainable and effective way to assess behavioral health care," was written by Eleos chief clinical officer Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit.

What they're saying: Industry observers say it will become increasingly important to quantify treatment outcomes with a range of tools and technologies, including voice analysis.

  • "Right now, much of the mental health industry relies on self-reported scoring and surveys from patients," says Shivan Bhavnani, a health tech investor and the founder of behavioral health research firm GIMBHI.
  • "I imagine Eleos Health can begin to quantify symptoms of certain mental illnesses which can help objectively identify outcome improvement," Bhavnani adds.
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