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Microsoft Renews Funding for India’s Hindi Mental Health App ‘IWill GITA’

Written by : Arti Ghargi

April 18, 2024

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Image Source: Freepik

IWill GITA, a therapy designed by the startup is an acronym for 'Gen-AI Inclusive Therapy Assistant' and is inspired by the timeless wisdom of Bhagavad Gita.

Tech giant Microsoft renewed its funding for IWill, a mental Health Startup based in India, under its 'AI for Accessibility' program. The amount of funding has not yet been revealed.

IWill had first raised funding from Microsoft in 2022, under the same program aimed to boost startups using Artificial Intelligence-based solutions.

This investment will help the startup to expedite the development of IWill GITA, touted as the World’s First Controlled Generative-AI Mental Health Companion in Hindi.

IWill GITA, as per the startup, is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles, harnesses the transformative potential of Generative AI while maintaining clinical rigor and responsible AI usage.

Ioana Tanase, Accessibility PM at Microsoft, expressed enthusiasm for supporting the IWill team in their endeavor to advance IWill GITA.

“We are very excited to support the IWill team as they further develop IWill GITA. Our shared vision is to broaden the horizons of mental health support, reaching out to an even larger audience and serving more people within the Hindi-speaking community,” Tanase said.

IWill’s Offerings for Mental Health Support

The digital health startup has developed an app that can analyze user’s emotional and mental health concerns and then creates personalized therapy.

IWill GITA, a therapy designed by the startup is an acronym for 'Gen-AI Inclusive Therapy Assistant'. It draws inspiration from the timeless wisdom encapsulated in the Bhagavad Gita, particularly the teachings of Lord Krishna.

In January 2024, IWill GITA commenced a pilot launch, aiming to cater to the expansive Hindi-speaking population spread across both rural and urban landscapes, totaling a staggering 615 million individuals.

The primary objective of this initiative is to address the alarming treatment gap exceeding 80% prevalent in the country, and democratizing access to quality mental healthcare.

Shipra Dawar, founder & CEO of IWill and ePsyClinic, extended her gratitude for Microsoft's continued support, emphasizing its pivotal role in the genesis of IWill GITA.

Dawar said, “We’re so excited and humbled to receive the continued support from Microsoft. Microsoft’s immense support was invaluable in helping us create IWill GITA and we feel honored that based on its success and future vision, Microsoft AI4A extended the funding and support.”

Use of Gen AI for Mental Health

Post COVID-19 pandemic, mental health, and emotional wellbeing have taken center stage in the dialogue around health.

In 2021 and 2022 startups focusing on mental health mushroomed across the globe collectively bagging nearly $10 million and $ 12.1 million in funding, as per the data published by Tracxn.

Overall, Indian companies raised $40.4 million in the mental health space to date.

Recently, Bengaluru-based Mental Health startup Mave Health raised INR 6 Cr ($719K) in the pre-seed round to develop Arc- a non-invasive product that the startup claims can treat depression.

Notable example is Amaha, a Mumbai-based startup that raised about $6 million in a funding round led by Fireside Ventures in January 2024.

The company offers psychiatry and other mental health services and has previously been backed by Lightbox Ventures, Capricorn Partners, and Info Edge CEO Hitesh Oberoi.

In 2022, Urban Health, a digital wellness company based in Bengaluru, raised $3.8 million over two rounds from seven investors, including 3one4 Capital and Venture Highway.

Additionally, mental health startups such as Lissun plan to hire 50-odd employees for their medical practitioner and product departments, indicating the growth potential in this sector.


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