Health start-up tackles corporate stress with EU funding

Soma Analytics' flagship app uses artificial intelligence to measure and improve stress, with patented algorithms that detect 'biomarkers' in users' voice as well as monitoring movement and sleep patterns. The result is a 600% ROI for employers looking to improve staff wellbeing.

Soma Analytics received €1.8m in funding to undertake the first smartphone app-based large-scale randomised controlled trial to reduce stress and improve productivity at work.

According to the start-up, its primary app, Kelaa Mental Resilience, can reduce the number of employees at high risk of mental-ill heath by 70 per cent within 28 days by improving employee mental resilience and wellbeing.

The app uses artificial intelligence to measure and improve stress, with patented algorithms that detect ‘biomarkers’ in users’ voice as well as monitoring movement and sleep patterns. The app also provides personalised recommendations and interventions to help users sleep better and managing stress levels.

Unlike other apps that monitor stress, there is no need for wearables, which makes it easier and less expensive for employers to roll Kelaa out to employees.

“Interest in Kelaa has been huge.  A number of organisations are already using Kelaa within their corporate wellbeing programmes and we are also in talks with health insurance companies,” according to Soma Analytics CEO, Johann Huber.

The company says that one in six employees experience mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression at any one time. Mental health problems cost employers an estimated at £26 billion every year, leading to unaccountable absences, presenteeism and turnover. Apps like Kelaa can be seen as an HR tool, and early trials revealed a 14 per cent reduction in perceived stress, 13 per cent improvement of sleep quality, 11 per cent improvement in overall wellbeing, and a 600 per cent return on the investment for employers.

Soma Analytics is one of just three digital health start-ups to receive funding from the EU fund, Horizon 2020.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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