With record numbers of people reporting mental health difficulties in recent years and the pandemic adding further to this spike, the stigma around taking care of your mind is beginning to dissipate. Many more people are now focusing on mental wellness as well as physical health. The health and wellbeing industry has seen a surge in wellness startups entering the market as people seek ways to prevent issues and treat them as they arise through welltech platforms and services.
Globally, the industry has grown from a 2019 revenue of around USD 4.9 trillion to over USD $7 trillion expected revenue by 2025. With sectors such as beauty, healthy eating and complementary health also coming under this banner, the industry is wide-reaching and has become an essential aspect of many people’s daily lives. The wellness tech startups Southeast Asia is witnessing encompass all the sub-sectors, including physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Here are five of the field leaders from the region:
Taking care of your health through massage therapy and spa treatments is a big part of the region’s culture, and GoWabi has tapped into that through its website and app. The Thai platform helps consumers find salons, spas, gyms, and dental offices near them and offers discounts and special offers. Treatments and appointments can be purchased and scheduled through the website, making it a convenient one-stop shop for beauty and wellness.
5 emerging mental health startups in Southeast Asia
Having gained a foothold in the country’s wellness business, GoWabi has flourished since its launch in 2016. It has received undisclosed sums of investment over the years, with the most recent boost to its capital coming in the form of USD 4 million in a Series A round in August 2022 led by American venture capitalist (VC) firm Modulus. Previous investors include 500 Global, Rise, and ORZON Ventures.
Staying fit and healthy isn’t always easy, and many people seek guidance on their journey to wellness. The FITCO app offers a range of wellness-boosting services from healthy food, home workouts, gyms with personal trainers and even a FIT Medic service for COVID testing.
By bringing together the elements of healthy eating, exercise and medical services, the Indonesian-based wellness startup takes a holistic approach to wellbeing. With a mission to provide over 250 million people with easy access to a better standard of healthy living, The FIT Company found backing from local VC firm East Ventures when they invested an undisclosed sum in seed capital in 2019.
An insurtech startup with a wellness slant, the CXA Group offers companies the opportunity to provide health and wellness benefits to their staff through their platform. Its AI offerings help employees monitor their health with a focus on prevention rather than curing physical and mental health problems. Through robust data analysis and personalised wellness ecosystems, this Singaporean startup, with branches in China, Indonesia and Vietnam, can help employees access healthcare and work towards a healthier way of life through a company-funded wallet.
The CXA group has fundraised USD $58 million to date, with the latest investment coming from Thai HR firm Humanica and HSBC Life International Holdings in March 2020. The recent finance deal also includes a business partnership with Humanica to integrate CXA’s platform into their offerings.
Offering support for those struggling with mental health issues, Singapore’s Intellect startup is “On a mission to rebuild mental healthcare.” Whether dealing with work-related stress, depression or other issues, this platform opens the door to solutions and guidance. Its self-care programme and the skill-building app help users improve their mental health daily, while expert behavioural therapists and crisis support teams are on hand to assist anyone with urgent or more complex needs.
In July 2022, it received a significant capital injection in a Series A funding round extension in the sum of USD 10 million from investment firm Tiger Global, bringing the round’s total to USD $20 million.
Intending to get people up and running for fitness and fun, BiiB organises events and corporate programmes to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. Its running challenges allow co-workers to compete against each other in virtual arenas. The virtual aspect allows even those who work remotely or in diverse locations to participate, building team bonding while improving fitness.
It bases its ethos on the fact that healthy, active employees are more productive and less likely to miss work due to illness. Through the use of technology and community, BiiB builds fitness routines that last.
As the wellness tech startups Southeast Asia is producing continue to increase in numbers and more users see the benefit of taking care of their health in a more holistic way, investments in the sector are sure to continue. The wellness startups sector is varied and growing, making it a solid choice for those wishing to invest.