Online therapy pays off for Irish firm SilverCloud Health

SilverCloud Health is making inroads in the UK, as well as expanding in the US and Europe, writes Trish Dromey.

Online therapy pays off for Irish firm SilverCloud Health

ENDING this year by winning the Emerging Company of the Year Award from the Irish Software Association, SilverCloud Health plans to start 2016 by securing an €8 million investment.

The Dublin-based company which provides online therapeutic programmes for a range of conditions, including anxiety, chronic disease, phobias and stress, has at the conclusion of the year also launched a new online programme for diabetes.

It is now three years since the company went live with an online behavioural healthcare platform which started by offering therapeutic support to people suffering from depression and eating disorders.

Since then, SilverCloud has increased its offering to provide 18 programmes which are used in the management of a range of behavioural problems as well as chronic disease. Its customers include both public and private healthcare providers, third level institutions and health insurance companies.

“The UK is our largest market where customers include NHS trusts, 20 universities and to the Ministry of Defence which uses it to provide online psychological wellness programs. The US is our second largest market where we sell to one of the top three largest health insurance companies in the US as well as 15 universities,” says company chief executive and co-founder Ken Cahill.

Other significant markets include Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

In Ireland , which accounts for 2% of sales, customers include Aware, St Patrick’s Hospital as well as Trinity College and NUI Galway. Employing a staff of 29, most of which are employed at its headquarters in The Priory in Dublin, SilverCloud also has offices in London and Boston. Turnover for the financial year ending at the start of this year was €1.1 million and Mr Cahill expects to double this in early 2016.

The company was set up in 2012, as a spin out from a seven-year project at Trinity College which researched the use of online intervention to treat mental health problems. Founded by four members of the research team in conjunction with Mr Cahill, it launched its platform at the end of the year.

“There were existing online solutions but these had low levels of client engagement and a high level of client drop out,’ says Mr Cahill adding that clinical studies of SilverCloud programmes show a significant improvement on these in terms of results.

“The interactive programmes, which are available 24/7, work by providing tools and activities which allow users to manage their mental and behavioural health,” he explains.

One of the first customers, which signed up to use the new SilverCloud platform in 2012, was one of the top three insurance companies in the US.

The company also had early successes in UK market with NHS Trusts. Mr Cahill says that the SilverCloud is now used by a third of the NHS trusts to deliver mental health and chronic care support, and that these trusts use its platform to offer mental health support to 40% of their clients.

In 2013, SilverCloud raised €1.5 million in equity funding which came from the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, the AIB Seed Capital Fund and Enterprise Ireland and was used to develop sales in the US and the UK.

Fundraising for the next €8m is expected to conclude early in 2016.This will be used to further develop the company’s programmes and platform and to expand the team in order to increase sales globally.

Therapeutic programmes for post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer and substance abuse are now in the pipeline. Mr Cahill plans to grow the staff size to 90 by 2017.

Aiming for a turnover of over €5m by early 2017, SilverCloud plans to increase this to over €20 million in the next five years.

Company: SilverCloud Health

Location: Dublin

CEO: Ken Cahill

Staff: 29

Business: Online therapeutic programmes for mental health and chronic disease

Exports: 98%

Key markets: UK, US and Europe


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