- Uwill, a mental health platform that contracts with colleges, landed $30 million in Series A funding from private equity firm Education Growth Partners, the company announced Tuesday.
- After launching in 2020, Uwill now counts more than 150 colleges as clients. They can contract with Uwill for a variety of services, including appointments with licensed therapists, on-demand sessions for students experiencing crises and virtual wellness events.
- Uwill plans to use the funding to enhance its technology, attract and retain therapists, and grow its college client roster. “We’re going to grow significantly, probably from the 150 schools that we have to 1,000 schools or so in the next three years,” said Michael London, founder and CEO of Uwill.
London casts Uwill as a complement to campus counseling operations. Its client list includes Dartmouth College, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Michigan.
Uwill is one of several mental health platforms that surged in popularity when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted campus counseling and spiked depression and anxiety among college students. The platform is now available to more than 1.5 million students, with roughly 5% to 10% actively using it, according to London. The service has upwards of 700 counselors.
The startup has contracted for about $15 million in sales this year, and is breaking even. That’s one reason Uwill was likely attractive to investors, London suggested.
Globally, venture funding fell to $445 billion in 2022, down 35% from the year before, according to Crunchbase, which provides investment and funding information about businesses. An analysis from HolonIQ, a market research firm, found that ed tech was hit even harder, with venture funding declining to $10.6 billion in 2022, a 49% decrease from the previous year.
Ed tech companies are on pace to bring in only $3.5 billion in venture funding this year, down even further from the year before.
“In frothy times, investors are dying for companies that are losing tons of money. They want to rescue them,” London said. “In these times, a company that’s growing and actually making a dollar is especially desirable.”
Andy Kaplan, managing general partner at Education Growth Partners, said the firm focuses on companies that have proven out their revenue model and ability to make a profit. The firm took a minority stake in Uwill, he said.
“We’re not focused on early-stage companies when there’s a lot of risk around figuring out the product, figuring out the market, figuring out how to sell it,” Kaplan said. “We focus on companies in that next phase, when they’ve got those things that are now ready to scale.”
Kaplan said he expects that Uwill will expand its network of licensed counselors and increase its college client list. He also sees the startup ultimately expanding internationally, though it is currently focused on the U.S.