London startup Thymia that uses video games to help doctors spot and treat depression picks $1.1M funding

Thymia, a London-based mental health startup that empowers clinicians to assess depression faster and more accurately, has secured £780K in the seed round.

The investment round was co-led by Kodori AG and Calm/Storm. Others including, Form Ventures, Entrepreneur First, and several angel investors, participated.

The funding will go towards scaling up its platform to assess for and monitor depression.

Empowers clinicians

Thymia uses video games based on Neuropsychology alongside analyses of video and speech to make mental health assessments smart, starting with depression.

The online platform allows clinicians to make faster and more accurate clinical decisions by making mental illness as objectively measurable as visible physical conditions.

How Thymia was born?

Neuroscientist Dr. Emilia Molimpakis and theoretical physicist Dr. Stefano Goria co-founded Thymia after a close friend of Emilia’s developed depression. The traditional depression assessment methods failed to convey the severity of her distress leading to a suicide attempt.

This led Emilia to leverage her understanding of Linguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Experimental Psychology to build a platform that could supplement and in time replace the highly subjective questionnaire-based approach clinicians use with patients experiencing mental health difficulties.

How Thymia works?

Emilia and Stefano have created video game-style activities and challenges for patients to interact with, such as verbally describing animated scenes or interacting with moving objects.

Whilst users complete the games, the platform analyses data streams including, Voice (to pick up acoustic and linguistic depressive cues), Video (to track current mood), and behavioural measures, including reaction times and error rates.

The software then identifies the data pattern indicative of depression to help pinpoint a diagnosis more quickly and accurately. This method allows clinicians to find the right method of treatment for a patient more quickly.

Partnerships with institutes

They have already established collaborations and partnerships with several world-leading research institutes, including UCL and King’s College London, to help scale the use of the technology to other cognitive disorders.

The company gathers data from hundreds of subjects with major depressive disorder and a normative control group to ethically and inclusively train their AI.

Emilia Molimpakis, CEO and co-founder of Thymia, says: “Thymia was born when a close friend of mine tried to take her own life. Her friends and doctors missed the signs that she was so seriously unwell, not least because the process of accessing the right treatment was based on out-dated methodologies not fit for the complexities and nuances of an illness like depression.

“Thymia is bringing psychiatry into the 21st Century, with an AI-enabled platform for accurate and continuous patient monitoring. It’s the first objective psychiatric assessment system, combining multiple layers of rich physiological data to assess depression and distinguish between similarly presenting disorders. Our technology will empower clinicians to assess and treat depression sooner, whilst allowing patients to develop a deeper understanding of their own condition. In time our aim is to become the gold standard of assessment for all mental health disorders and show that mental illness is as real and objectively measurable as physical illness, thereby also helping eradicate the stigma associated with it.

“We’re bringing something truly revolutionary to the market and we’re aiming to change how we treat, talk about and engage with depression as a result. We’re delighted that Kodori, Calm/Storm, Form and Entrepreneur First saw the potential in this vision and are joining us for the next stage in this exciting journey.”

Lucanus Polagnoli, Founder and Managing Partner at Calm/Storm, says: “We’re very excited about Thymia. It’s going to bring the same level of objectivity to mental health that we expect in the realm of physical health. Emilia & Stefano impressed us from day one with their passion, academic prowess, and rigorous commitment to building a truly inclusive mental health tool.”

The Kodori AG team add: “Thymia is perfectly placed and uniquely capable of becoming the gold-standard of objective mental health assessments, and we are excited to support Emilia and Stefano in their mission.”