Digital Mental Health Startup Raises $1.2M Pre-Seed to Expand Culturally-Responsive Care

Entrepreneurs / 9th June 2023

Anise Health, a culturally-responsive digital mental health company, completed its $1.2M pre-seed led by Kicker Ventures, with participation from Gold House VenturesAllston Venture Fund, and strategic angels. Anise Health launched in California in 2022 to establish the gold standard of care for people of color (POC), starting with a focus on Asian Americans. Alongside this investment, Anise is expanding its services to New York and broadening payor partnerships to continue making its treatments more accessible.

Over the past 2 years, Asian Americans have reported the greatest increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety across all racial groups. 41% of Asian Americans are experiencing anxiety or depression, 62% of whom don’t have access to effective treatment due to the exclusion of cultural factors in care and limited provider expertise. Moreso, evidence-based practices for psychological disorders have mostly been developed in Western contexts, with Asians representing 0.1% of trial participants.

Anise Health is addressing this mental health equity crisis by reimagining the end-to-end care journey. Anise’s care model is tailored to address unique cultural stressors, and Anise’s providers are trained in cultural sensitivity to ensure consistently high-quality care. The holistic suite of services for individuals includes online therapy, coaching, and self-guided resources. Anise also offers group services, including psychoeducational webinars and workshops, that meet organizations’ DE&I and wellness needs.

“We’re seeing a 97% completion rate of the first four sessions among our clients, compared to 50% POC dropout after one session. And we’re seeing statistically significant symptom improvements in just 1 month of treatment,” said Alice Zhang, co-founder of Anise. “We are proud of our preliminary data that demonstrates the power of culturally-responsive care.”

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