Victoria-based Cognito Health closes a $1.1M pre-seed round led by Garage Capital
Its high-profile investors include Shopify co-founder Scott Lake and Redbrick’s Tobyn Sowden.
The negative impact of the pandemic on peoples’ mental well-being is no secret. In a recent national survey, 54 percent of respondents said that their mental health has worsened since March of 2020. At the same time, reports indicate that Canadians are struggling to access the services they need to treat issues like depression and anxiety.
While the issue impacts Canadians broadly, this situation hit close to home for pharmacist Jason Cridge about a year ago when a family member experienced a mental health crisis. “There’s got to be something we can do about this,” he said to himself. It became an inciting incident for the story of his new Victoria-based startup, Cognito, which today revealed that it raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding.
The investment round was led by Garage Capital’s Mike McCauley. Other high-profile investors include Rasool Rayani, Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny, Shopify co-founder Scott Lake, Redbrick’s Tobyn Sowden, endūr’s Rob Fraser and Jason Warner, the former CTO of Git-Hub.
Soft-launched last May, Cognito is an online, integrated mental health solution for people experiencing depression, anxiety, insomnia and ADHD. To use the service, patients complete an online assessment, then the service prescribes a treatment plan based on individual needs.
To get the company off the ground, Cridge tells Vancouver Tech Journal he worked with Rayani to build a team made up of domain experts in key areas. For instance, they recruited Armon Arani, an engineer and a growth marketing expert. Then Dr. Jillian Roberts, a psychologist. Family doctor Francois Mullerand and Julien Sellgren, a senior developer, also joined the team.
With a core group in place, the startup was positioned to raise the funding that was announced today. Cognito didn’t share specific user metrics, but the company detailed that it’s averaging 30 percent month-over-month user growth. It plans to expand across Alberta and Ontario next. Despite a slow start, Cridge says it's now “growing fiercely” and believes it will eventually be “the incumbent mental health service in Canada.”