Online Therapy Continues to Grow, but Which Company Is the Biggest?

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, is the delivery of mental health services via remote communication. This may be e-mail, text messaging, Zoom, or any other methods in which licensed health care professionals can be in contact with their patients.

Online therapy

Online therapy

What this trend has also given rise to is increased competition. Without being restricted by their geo proximity, mental health service providers now have access to larger markets. Whilst this means the pool of potential clients increases, so does the possibility of being substituted with another provider by clients.

Read Also: Things to Consider When Looking for an Online Therapy Provider

Of course, competition is usually a good thing. It helps keep the cost down and drives innovation in the competition for differentiation. With that in mind, this article will take a look at which company has got the upper hand and has grown to become the biggest.

This comparison isn’t necessarily going to conclude which is the best therapy site (this would be impossible, as different clients have different needs). Instead, we will look at which firm has the largest presence in the market as it will help give us more insight into the ever-evolving industry.

Talkspace

Founded in 2012, Talkspace is a New York-based online and mobile therapy company. In 2014, the firm introduced ‘Unlimited Messaging Therapy’ which helped put it on the map. This was one of the first mobile apps to connect users with a licensed therapist and have unlimited communication through texting.

Read Also: Psychotherapy: Online Therapy vs. In-Person Therapy: Which Is Better?

The firm raised $9.5 million in 2015, $15 million in 2016, and another $31 million in 2017 during three rounds of funding. Series D funding, in 2019, raised $50 million – a consistently increasing trajectory.

The firm has currently a market capitalization of over half a billion. In 2020, Talkspace had reportedly helped over 1.5 million clients, with therapists working for them all across the US. This is considered to be the leader of the industry in terms of the user base, though they’ve yet to fully expand overseas.

The firm has a large online presence too, with 160,000 Instagram followers and 32,000 Twitter followers. Perhaps the biggest PR coup for Talkspace was getting Demi Lovato on board. The former Disney star is a famous public figure with 117 million Instagram followers and has been outspoken on topics surrounding mental health. She recently came out as non-binary, and such public statements have likely boosted Talkspace’s exposure within the LGBTQ community.

Furthermore, Michael Phelps also performed in an advert for Talkspace – a hugely popular and successful Olympic athlete. Talkspace has been very successful in boosting public trust and perception by using prominent public figures, along with a large marketing budget.

The firm’s revenue grew tremendously over the period of lockdowns, for obvious reasons, and is expecting its 2021 net revenue to increase 69% from 2020 to $125 million. The firm clearly has a buzz around it, with a valuation of $1.4 billion – 11 times its expected net revenue.

Talkspace has been installed well over 100,000 times from the Google play store and has almost 4,000 Play Store app reviews in which it has a rating of 4 out of 5.

Read Also: Why Online Therapy is Gaining in Popularity

Betterhelp

Betterhelp was founded around the same time as Talkspace: 2013. They began with a very similar set of services to Talkspace but were quickly acquired by Teladoc in 2015 – a company with a $22 billion market capitalization.

In 2018, Betterhelp’s revenue was already over $60  million and has only continued growing during the pandemic. Betterhelp’s revenue is expected to be higher than Talkspace in 2021 and has over 1 million app installs and over 20,000 app reviews in which it averages a rating of 4.6 out of 5.

The size of Betterhelp can be in part attributed to the healthcare infrastructure underpinning Teladoc. Betterhelp has the most therapists of any firm in the industry, with over 22,000 licensed therapists working for them. It’s also incredibly highly rated among industry leaders.

Ariana Grande partnered with Betterhelp in 2021 – in which the singer with 271-million Instagram followers gave away $1 million in free therapy. The post announcing this partnership with Betterhelp, and the free $1 million therapy giveaway, received almost 2 million likes on Instagram. This was a big deal for Betterhelp and has really propelled them as arguably being the industry leader in 2021.

Read Also: Drug Addiction: Overcoming Dependencies and Avoiding Overdoses

Amwell

Amwell is a $2 billion telemedicine company that also offers mental health services and online therapy. The firm was founded in 2006, much before e-therapy became a thing. The reason behind this is because Amwell isn’t just offering online therapy like the other two firms, they’re an established telehealth firm with many different services – such as urgent care, behavioral health, nutrition, pediatrics, and many more.

Amwell has a market cap larger than Talkspace but smaller than Betterhelp, yet it only has 350 licensed therapists, social workers, and psychiatrists. The Amwell app, which does offer virtual doctor visits, has over a million Android downloads and 8,000 Google Play reviews.

Amwell hasn’t really used the same marketing strategy as the other two. It’s not a quick-growing tech startup that’s trying to run before it can walk, and it doesn’t have an absurd valuation. Amwell hasn’t taken to using aggressive marketing or celebrity partnerships – yet they’re still turning over $149 in annual revenue (2019).

This is certainly people’s favorite choice when considering the wide variety of services offered. It’s more of a healthcare one-stop-shop than it is an e-therapy platform.

Read Also: Hallucinogenic Mushrooms May Be Up to 4 Times More Effective Than Antidepressants

7 cups

7 Cups is a lot different from the previous three firms because it’s entirely free. Founded in 2013 by psychologist Glen Moriarty, 7 Cup has a model in which users can talk to a trained listener for free, but must pay if they want to speak to a licensed therapist. Still, the listeners are trained and reportedly helpful for many.

This freemium model has earned 7 Cup a lot of app downloads and market presence. With over a million Android installs and 24,000+ Play reviews (averaging 4.7 out of 5, the highest on this list), the firm has tapped into what many people were asking for: free mental health help.

7 Cup’s estimated revenue is over $40 million per year, though it’s difficult to value because they’re not publicly listed on a stock exchange. The company only has 6,300 followers on Instagram, and almost exactly the same on Twitter. Strangely, for a firm with an innovative freemium pricing model, they’re not particularly modern in their PR approach – even the website appears outdated.

Nevertheless, the service and value offered have lent themselves to being an important company in the market. A company that may pressurize others to follow suit with a freemium approach.

Read Also: University of Michigan: Irregular Sleep Patterns Could Lead to Depression

References

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/talkspace
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210715005950/en/Talkspace-Partners-with-Demi-Lovato-to-Launch-Initiative-Providing-Free-Therapy-to-Underserved-Communities
https://www.bestonlinetherapy.com/betterhelp-review/
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sevencupsoftea.app&hl=en_GB&gl=US

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