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Clare&me’s bold leap into mental healthcare integration

Conceptual art copyrighted to HiEquity.ai

Mental health care is a critical global issue, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that nearly one billion people worldwide were living with a mental disorder in 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated mental health issues, with an estimated 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. This rise highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions in mental health care, especially in regions where traditional healthcare is less accessible.

Clare&me, established in 2021 by co-founders Celina Messner, Emilia Theye, and Xaver Ebner, aims to address this growing need. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the company extends its reach across the European Union (EU) and into diverse regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). This broad geographical focus reflects the company’s commitment to tackling mental health challenges on a wide scale.

Pain point addressed

Clare&me’s AI-driven solution for mental health care is particularly relevant given the global shortage of mental health services. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports a significant shortfall in mental health services worldwide, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than 50% of people with specific mental health conditions, such as depression and psychosis, receive care, with the global median of mental health workers being only 13 per 100,000 people in 2020. This figure is starkly lower in low-income countries compared to high-income ones. Additionally, only about 25% of countries meet the criteria for integrating mental health into primary care, and mental health budgets remain around 2% of government health spending.

Type of solution

Clare&me has created a smart audio program (or bot) that can help people with certain mental health problems, like anxiety or mild depression. This program works on computers and phones, using really clever AI methods to have conversations with users. It can understand what people say and respond to them, just like talking to a person. This makes it easier for the bot to give helpful, personalized advice and support for mental health issues. Think of it as a helpful friend on your phone or computer that you can talk to at any time.

Source: https://www.clareandme.com/

Type of input data leveraged

Clare&me’s AI-driven audio bot leverages various types of input data to function effectively:

  • Speech data: As an audio bot, it primarily uses speech data, analyzing users’ vocal inputs for cues related to mental health states.
  • User responses: The bot gathers data from user interactions, including verbal responses to specific prompts, to tailor its support.
  • Behavioral indicators: It analyzes patterns in speech rate, tone, and pauses, which can be indicative of psychological states like anxiety or depression.

Key technology involved

  • Machine learning/deep learning: These technologies enable the bot to learn from interactions, improve its responses over time, and personalize the user experience.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): NLP is critical for interpreting and responding to user speech, allowing the bot to understand natural human language and maintain a conversational flow.
  • Speech recognition: This technology is essential for converting user speech into text that the AI can process.
  • Data analytics: leveraging user interaction data to identify patterns and insights that inform the bot’s responses and evolve its capabilities.

Key applications of solution

  • Emotional state analysis: utilizes NLP to interpret verbal cues, aiding in identifying signs of anxiety and depression.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques: Offers guided self-help strategies based on CBT principles, tailored to individual user needs.
  • User engagement tracking: monitors user interactions to assess engagement levels and mental health progression.
  • Personalized feedback and support: adapt responses and advice based on user input, ensuring a personalized care experience.

Implications of key stakeholders

  • Patients: They benefit from immediate, anytime access to mental health support, especially for anxiety and mild depression, with the added comfort of privacy and anonymity.
  • Healthcare providers: While Clare&me doesn’t replace professional therapy, it could serve as an adjunct tool, offering patients continual support and potentially easing the burden on mental health professionals.
  • Insurers: The scalable, cost-effective nature of AI-driven solutions like Clare&me could potentially reduce overall treatment costs.
  • Regulatory bodies: As an AI-driven mental health tool, Clare&me could navigate regulatory landscapes, ensuring compliance with data privacy and healthcare regulations.

Current impact

  • Providing accessible mental health support for anxiety and mild depression.
  • Offering a stigma-free, anonymous platform that encourages more individuals to seek help.
  • Utilization of machine learning and NLP to personalize user interactions.

Potential future impact

  • Expanding access to mental health care in underserved regions, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia, where there are fewer mental health resources.
  • Further refining AI algorithms for more nuanced understanding and support.
  • Potential integration with broader healthcare services for a more holistic approach to mental wellness.

Business model

Clare&me employs a hybrid business model, encompassing B2B (Business-to-Business), B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer), and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) approaches. In its B2B aspect, the company offers its AI-driven mental health solution to other businesses or organizations, like healthcare providers, on a subscription basis. These organizations can then provide Clare&me’s services to their employees or clients, leading to the B2B2C element. Additionally, Clare&me offers a direct subscription plan to individual consumers at £29.99 per year, aligning with the B2C model. The coverage of Clare&me by insurance varies and is dependent on individual insurance plans and policies.

Advantages of the business model

  • Recurring revenue: Subscription models ensure a steady revenue stream.
  • Scalability: As a software service, it can easily be scaled to serve a large number of clients with minimal incremental cost.
  • Data collection: Continuous user interaction provides valuable data for improving AI algorithms.
  • Flexibility: The SaaS model allows for regular updates and enhancements to the service without significant disruption for users.

Funding and key investors

On February 11, 2022, Berlin-based Clare&me successfully raised €1 million in a pre-seed funding round. This round saw contributions from Antler and seven other investors, marking a significant milestone for the company’s AI-based mental health companion project. Additionally, on December 3, 2021, Clare&me had previously raised an undisclosed amount in an angel funding round from investor Nina Levchuk. Cumulatively, these funding efforts have contributed to a total funding amount of €1.2 million, propelling Clare&me’s development and expansion in the mental health technology sector.

Key investors in Clare&me include: Antler, YZR Venture Capital, Jenny Saft, Heidrun Twesten, Michael Schweikart, Inas Nureldin, Jan Wilmking, and Hans Raffauf

Additionally, Nina Levchuk participated in an angel funding round for the company. These investors played a crucial role in Clare&me’s early financial support and development.

Competitive differentiator

Clare&me’s competitive differentiator lies in its unique approach to delivering mental health support through a cloned human voice in its AI-powered audio bot. Unlike many AI solutions that use synthetic voices, Clare&me incorporates the actual voice of its co-founder, Emilia Theye, both in its real and cloned forms. This gives the bot a slight German accent, adding a personal and human touch to the interactions. This nuanced approach of using a real, human voice in an AI context offers a more relatable and comforting experience to users, distinguishing Clare&me from other AI-driven mental health solutions that may feel impersonal or mechanical. This voice-focused approach, possibly supplemented by text, is central to their mental health support, setting it apart with a more personal and engaging user experience in the AI mental health domain.

Relevant regulatory and compliance requirements

The regulatory and compliance requirements of Clare&me, being an AI-driven mental health application, demonstrate a commitment to user privacy and data security, in line with European Union regulations:

  • Data protection and privacy: The company applies advanced security measures to safeguard user data, which is crucial in maintaining user trust and complying with legal standards in data handling.
  • Data handling and encryption: The company stores identifiable data and sensitive call or conversation data separately, employing encryption to further protect this information. This adherence to data segregation and encryption is vital for ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of user data, a key aspect of regulatory compliance in the tech and health sectors.
  • Restricted data access: Access to data analysis tools is limited to a select group of personnel, and every instance of data access must be justified as unavoidable. This approach aligns with the principles of data minimization and access control, which are fundamental to data protection regulations. By limiting access to sensitive data, Clare&me could uphold a high standard of user privacy and align with regulatory requirements for data security.

Partnerships and collaborations

Partners of Clare&me are the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, Silicon Allee, YZR Venture Capital, the EU Social Fund, ESF Berlin, the Berlin Founders Fund, and Antler.


“Talking to Clare helps me to shift some weight off of my shoulders. Even though Clare’s not human, I am getting support with my anxiety thanks to the talks.” SamUser

“I know Clare is not a real person, but it does help to talk. Although it’s been only a couple of weeks, I already feel better about myself.” AlexUser

Areas of continuous improvement

For continuous improvement, Clare&me could focus on several key areas:

  • Algorithm enhancement: refining AI algorithms for more nuanced understanding and accurate responses.
  • Language and cultural adaptability: expanding the language options and cultural sensitivity of the AI to cater to a more diverse user base.
  • Integration with healthcare systems: developing interfaces for seamless integration with existing healthcare systems for better patient monitoring and data sharing.




Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions, content, and analysis in my posts are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of any current or past employers or institutional affiliations. These posts, based solely on publicly available information, are for informational purposes and should not be taken as professional advice. All insights and conclusions are my viewpoints and should not be considered representative of any organizations I am or have been associated with. This content is not endorsed by, nor does it represent the stance of any affiliated entity.


Hiequity Team

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