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Rise of Self-Care Apps

If you’re living in 2018 – you have probably heard how important self-care is. As the stigma towards mental health issues slowly decreases and there is more of a focus on taking care of yourself – it has created a market for self-care apps. I personally love and use many as a part of my daily routine. Ranging from the default “Health” app on my iPhone to Calm, Headspace, and Mend. All of these apps play a role in making my life a bit easier and my cell phone an actual productive and a healthy tool for my life.

This got me thinking in regards of the exciting trend of increased self-care apps in the market. According to Tech Crunch, top 10 self-care apps in the U.S. earned $15 million in combined iOS and Android revenue. The projected growth in self-care apps in 2018 were listed as 804 for iOS and 2,640 for Android.[1] This focus on mental health, self-care, and mindfulness appears to be a trend that is being noticed by Apple and other companies as well. Personally, as someone who is oversaturated with content from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, having Apps that allow you to disconnect from that space and take care of yourself is really revolutionary and innovative. I believe the trend of increase in this space will continue as more people realize the importance of self-care as well as disconnection from constant stimulation from social media platforms. In addition, various researchers have also cited passive use of Facebook (i.e. mindless scrolling we’re all guilty of) can cause a mental health risk. [2]

With this surge of the demand (people willing to pay for or actively seek for self-care) and the need (more threats to mental health such as social media as well as constant stimulation) – are Venture Capital firms willing to back these type of apps?

It turns out that the VC world has been aware of this market and investment in mental health space has jumped from 7 companies in 2009 to 30 deals as of June 2018. One of the biggest player in this space is the Calm app which raised $27 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners as well as Ashton Kutcher’s Second Ventures. According to Pitchbook, 2018 was on pace to seeing more than $500 million funding invested in the mental health tech space. [3]

This is a really exciting time for both users of the various apps as well as companies that are providing these products. A shift towards self-care can only benefit society and increase overall social good. I am looking forward to seeing where the VC funding will be like at the end of 2018 for this space as well as how revenue models work for these companies. I am sure it will take balancing between creating more access but, also creating a profitable products to ensure continuance in VC support.