Revery gets $ 2 million to improve mental health with mobile gaming techniques – TechCrunch

In “Macbeth” Shakespeare described sleep as the “main nourisher of the feast of life”. But like its main character, many adults don’t sleep well. Reverie wants to help with an app that combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia with mobile game concepts.

Founded in March 2021, Revery is currently in stealth beta mode and plans to launch its app in the United States later this year. The company announced today that it has raised $ 2 million through Sequoia Capital India’s Surge program. Attendees included GGV Capital, Pascal Capital, zVentures (the venture capital arm of Razer) and angel investors like MyFitnessPal co-founder Albert Lee; gaming entrepreneur Juha Paananen; the founder of CRED, Kunal Shah; the founder of the Mobile Premier League, Sai Srinivas; Caroline Krenzer; and Josh Lee.

Lee, a mutual friend, first introduced Revery founders Tammie Siew and Khoa Tran to each other. Prior to launching the startup, Siew worked at Sequoia Capital India, Boston Consulting Group and CRED, while Tran was a former product manager at Google.

Revery plans to focus on other mental health issues in the future, but that starts with sleep because “it has such a strong correlation with mental health and we use protocols, cognitive behavioral therapy for it. insomnia, which is robust and proven. for 30 years, ”Siew told TechCrunch. “This is the first indication, but the aim is to also create several games for other indications of well-being. “

A study by the research firm Infinium found that about 30-45% of adults worldwide suffer from insomnia, a problem worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to a multitude of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, depression, and reduced immunity.

For the Revery team, which also includes former Zynga and King chief game designer Kriti Sawa, and software engineer Stephanie Wong, their focus on sleep is personal.

The Revery team during a Zoom call

“Everyone on our team has a deeply personal connection to the mission, as all of our team members have experienced or brought a family member or friend through mental health challenges,” said Siew. . “They saw how late intervention creates consequences that could have been avoided if they had gotten help sooner.”

At the age of 15, Tran was diagnosed with high blood pressure and several other medical conditions that required medication. It wasn’t until the age of 26 that Tran discovered that sleep apnea was the root of his medical problems. After undergoing surgery, Tran’s blood pressure returned to normal and many of his other conditions improved as well.

“When I finally received treatment for my sleep disorder, it wasn’t until then that I realized the impact of sleep on mental health,” Tran said. “For me, I was very lucky that a doctor caught my sleep disorder and I was very lucky to have the time and resources to seek treatment. For a lot of people, it’s incredibly inaccessible.

Revery’s medical advisory team includes the physician who performed the operation on Tran; the director of the Stanford Sleep Surgery Fellowship, Dr. Stanley Liu; Stanford professor and expert in behavioral sleep medicine, Dr. Fiona Barwick; and Dr. Ryan Kelly, clinical psychologist who researches how video games can be used in therapy.

When people think of sleep apps, those that focus on meditation (Calm and Headspace, for example) or soothing noises usually come to mind. The Revery team doesn’t share many details about its app ahead of launch, but says it takes inspiration from casual mobile games, designed to keep people coming back for short gaming sessions over a long period of time. . The goal is to use gamification to make CBT practices interactive and fun, so that they become part of users’ daily routines.

“It’s the same kind of gameplay that Zynga and King used, which is why Kriti’s experience is so helpful,” Siew said. Casual games are all about rewarding people for small actions, and for the Revery app, that means positive reinforcement of habits that contribute to better sleep. For example, it will reward people for putting their phones down.

“I think a lot of people mistakenly think that resolution to sleep doesn’t happen until the moment you fall asleep. They don’t realize that sleep is affected by what you do throughout the day, ”Siew said. “A big part is also what your thoughts and behavior and the other things you do are, so in order to effectively and sustainably improve sleep we also need to change your thoughts and behaviors outside of the time you are trying to sleep. fall asleep. “

In a statement, GGV Capital Managing Director Jenny Lee said, “We are excited about the growth of the mental wellness market and believe Revery’s unique mobile game-based approach has the opportunity to create immense impact. We are happy to support such a mission driven team in this space. “

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