Online counselling and psychological support platform YourDOST has raised $400,000 (Rs 2.6 crore) in seed funding from a group of angel investors.
The investors include redBus co-founder Phanindra Sama, TaxiForSure co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, Capillary Technologies founder Aneesh Reddy and Smartur founder Neeraj Jawalkar. Sanjay Anandaram, partner at Seedfund; Pavan Ongole, former director at SoftBank; and nuVentures co-founder Venk Krishnan also put in money.
The startup, run by YourDOST Health Solutions Pvt Ltd, will use the funds to meet its marketing and expansion expenses.
YourDOST was founded in December 2014 by IIT-Guwahati alumnus Richa Singh, along with IIM-Bangalore's Puneet Manuja, Northeastern University alumnus Satyajeet Nandekar and Prakhar Verma, a computer science graduate from BMSCE, Bangalore.
YourDOST offers support to people looking to discuss emotional issues by providing instant online access to experts with assured anonymity.
These experts are life coaches, psychologists and even entrepreneurs and engineers offering career guidance, etc. Users can choose to get into a live chat, find answers over email or book an appointment with the expert of their choice on the platform.
As of now YourDOST does not have a revenue generating model. The services are offered through its web portal and Android mobile app for free.
It plans to introduce premium offers such as one-on-one meetings, special appointments with select experts, etc., for a fee, once it gets enough traction. It is currently working on developing a model for this, company officials said.
Ten months into operations, the startup claims to have had almost 70,000 users logging in, with the number growing 40 per cent month-on-month. A team of over 75 experts facilitate around 300 one-on-one interactions on a daily basis, it claims.
“With YourDOST we aim to create awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental wellness in our society,” said Singh. “Technology combined with empathy and the right kind of experts will go a long way in helping people going through various emotional and mental challenges and equipping them to better deal with it.”