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Exclusive: Psychedelic startup studio Beckley Waves doses $3M seed

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Psychedelic startup incubator Beckley Waves dosed $3.3 million in seed funding, partner Daniel Love tells Axios exclusively.

Driving the news: Boosted by hopeful research, continued investor interest and an increasingly friendly regulatory milieu, market appetite continues to grow for companies focused on psychedelic-based mental health treatments.

How it works: The London-based venture incubator backs startups spanning therapy, education and software.

  • Some areas the firm is eyeing include training and public education, community-building and research into other potential therapeutic applications for psychedelics, such as ADHD, autism, eating disorders and chronic pain, per Love.
  • "When robotic surgical tools came out, you had surgeons who were unused to that modality. Similarly, there's a lot of therapists and great mental health providers, but many have less experience in this new way of working," Love says.

Details: Investors include the Joe and Sandy Samberg Foundation, Satori Neuro, Evolve Ventures and Foundation, Bridge Builders Collaborative, 1440 Foundation, Austin Hearst and Asia Agnelli.

  • Beckley intends to use the capital to launch roughly two companies and "make a handful of strategic investments," says Love.
  • Love expects Beckley to raise a Series A sometime in 2025.

By the numbers: Investment in the hallucinogenics-for-mental-health sector rose from just $62 million in 2019 to $617 million in 2020, and hit a peak of $1.6 billion in 2021, per Bloomberg.

  • And while funding dropped precipitously last year to $570 million, Love says he foresees "some notable companies" setting the stage for a "new paradigm of mental health care" within the next 5-10 years.
  • "Even if this is a psychedelic winter, it feels like the green shoots are coming," says Love.

🌊 One fun thing: The name Beckley Waves was chosen "to resemble a wave spreading impact into the universe," says Love. "It's about the ongoing ripples it creates."

What's next: "For us, it's not just psychedelics," Love says. "In some ways that's a foothold. Ultimately, we want to help people that are suffering [and] help people thrive more, so if psychedelics are a jumping-off point, meditation and other forms of conscious exploration are also important."Psychedelic startup incubator Beckley Waves dosed $3.3 million in seed funding, partner Daniel Love tells Axios exclusively.

State of play: Dozens of psychedelic startups have received venture funding in recent years, from those providing support for traditional providers to take on psychedelic-assisted therapy to those applying AI to psychedelic drug development. For example:

  • This January, Ketamine-assisted therapy infrastructure startup Journey Clinical, one of Beckley's portfolio companies, closed an $8.5 million Series A.
  • Last December, Enthea, a benefits provider for psychedelic-assisted therapy, raised $2 million in seed funding.
  • In February 2022, Mindstate, an AI-powered psychedelic drug discovery startup, collected $11.5 million in seed funds.
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