Flow Neuroscience raises $9 million, takes depression head on

Swedish healthtech Flow Neuroscience has raised $9 million in a Series A round. The company is the maker of Europe’s only medically approved transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) device and behavioural therapy app for depression. The funding is expected to be used to further develop existing depression treatments as well accelerate expansion into the US market via clinical trials and FDA approval. To date, the startup has raised a total of $11.6 million.

Flow Neuroscience is fighting depression via its unique headset that delivers gentle electrical impulses to the head. The device has been in trials in the UK and EU for the past two years, with users reporting a 30% recovery rate after 6 weeks of treatment, and 85% reporting an improvement in mood.

One of the most difficult conditions to accurately diagnose, depression is often a hit or miss game. A typical first line of defense is the prescription of antidepressants, with about a 50% response rate. Due to the nature of these drugs, this then leaves patients with side and after-effects including tolerance, resistance, and withdrawal. Non-pharmaceutical solutions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can also have the same level of efficacy but often take several months to achieve.

Founded in 2016 by clinical psychologist Daniel Månsson and neuroscientist Erik Rehn, the Flow device produces no side effects and allows users to self-manage their depression at home. It’s this “in the privacy of my own home” approach that the company hopes will also aid in breaking down some of the taboos surrounding conversations about mental health.

Flow’s Series A round was led by Khosla Ventures, CSS Group through Swiss Health Ventures, and Zühlke Ventures. The round also saw participation from Kirin Holdings through Kiring health innovation fund led by Global Brain, SOSV’s HAX, and San Francisco-based patent firm Schox.

Khosla Partner Dr. Alexander Morgan comments, “The Flow approach can be adjunctive to other forms of therapy and can be an option for those who have not responded to other forms of treatment. We believe everyone in the world should have access to personalized, data-driven therapies. Flow is also empowering to users, as it provides substantial convenience and privacy; people can use it at home at times of their own choosing.”

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