Gamified wellness company Revery today announced US$2 million in pre-seed funding led by Surge, a rapid scale-up program by Sequoia Capital India for startups in India and Southeast Asia. Revery is in beta stealth and has plans to launch globally later this year, starting with a focus on the US market.
Founders Tammie Siew and Khoa Tran started Revery to help others redefine the management of mental wellbeing by combining cognitive behavioural therapy with gameplay and technology. Drawing on mobile game concepts, Revery wants to make therapy interactive and fun, helping the focus on mental health to become part of a daily lifestyle.
Khoa was first inspired to develop this concept for sleep therapy, as he had first-hand experience on how poor sleep could cause troubling health problems. At the age of 15, Khoa was diagnosed with hypertension and a host of other conditions needing medication. It wasn't until he was 26 that Khoa found out his poor sleep was the root cause. After correcting his sleep issues, his blood pressure is now normal and many of his previous conditions have improved.
The effects of chronic sleep loss are well researched, and countless studies have shown that a lack of sleep can increase the risk of mental disorders, cardiovascular disease, and serious health conditions like diabetes and dementia. In Asia, young adults get the least sleep compared to their peers in Europe, Middle East and America due to cultural habits, and higher work and educational demands. Options beyond medication are often limited and therapy can come with a steep price tag for many people who may not be able to afford ongoing care.
"Many people do not have the time or resources to access quality sleep and mental health care like I did. At Revery, we're committed to raising awareness about the critical role that sleep plays in determining our wellbeing and how we can take charge of our health." said Khoa Tran, Co-Founder and CTO of Revery.
"Roughly two out of three adults feel that they don't sleep well, and there are less than 1,000 sleep therapists across the globe. We believe that tapping into the growing $90 billion mobile gaming market as a delivery vehicle is, pun intended, a game changer. This fundraise is the first step in scaling therapy for millions around the world who need it." said Tammie Siew, Co-Founder and CEO of Revery.
Testament to Revery's groundbreaking approach to addressing mental wellness is its team of expert advisors and investors that occupy the unique space between healthcare and gaming sectors. The medical advisory team includes leading behavioural sleep medicine expert, Dr Fiona Barwick, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Sleep Medicine Division at Stanford Medical; Dr Stanley Liu, Director of the Stanford Sleep Surgery Fellowship; and Dr Ryan Kelly, an award-winning researcher and acclaimed pioneer in video game research and development.
The fundraise is led by Sequoia Capital India's Surge and includes participation from notable venture funds Pascal Capital, GGV Capital, zVentures and Patron. Angel investors include tech guru Kunal Shah, founder of one of India's fastest growing unicorn startup, CRED; Sai Srinivas, founder of Mobile Premier League (MPL); Juha Paananen; Carolin Krenzer; Albert Lee, who previously co-founded MyFitnessPal before it sold to UnderArmour in 2015; and Josh Lee.
"We are excited about the growing mental wellness market, and believe that Revery's unique mobile game-based approach has the opportunity to create immense impact," Jenny Lee, Managing Partner of GGV Capital, commented. "We are happy to back such a mission-driven team in this space."
"We know that mental wellness is a major concern for youth and millennials, and that gamification helps increase engagement and efficacy. As the world's leading lifestyle brand for gamers, most of whom are youth and millennials, Razer is supportive of Revery's efforts to gamify therapy and improve lives," said Cho Weihao, Investment Director at Razer zVentures.
Revery was founded in March 2021 by Singaporean Tammie Siew and Vietnamese-American Khoa Tran. Tammie has worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Sequoia Capital India, where she was the first female investment advisor for Sequoia in Southeast Asia. She also spearheaded a volunteer research mental health project for Better.sg, a tech for good non-profit in Singapore. Khoa worked as a data scientist at a fashion technology startup, a software engineer at Samsung, and a product manager at Google before starting Revery.
Tammie and Khoa are joined by Head of Game Design for Revery, Kriti Sawa, who has a decade of game design leadership experience from Zynga and King, and engineering lead Stephanie Wong, who was a software engineer at several startups and has designed for the Smithsonian and Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco.
Revery is part of Surge's fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape.