French digital therapy startup HypnoVR raises €4.5 million

Strasbourg-based digital therapy provider HypnoVR has rased €4.5 million in a Series A funding round. The company uses an individually tailored virtual reality experience in the operating room, thereby reducing patient pain and anxieties. The funding will be used to drive an international roll-out of the product, as well as ramp up R&D efforts to find additional applications for the medical hypnosis solution. In total, HypnoVR has raised €6 million to date.

If you’ve ever had to lie on the operating theatre table, the sounds and sights of bright lights and clinking of medical instruments can be enough to give even the most fearless pause for panic.

Seeing this fear in patients’ eyes time and time again, Dr. Denis Graff and Dr. Chloé Chauvin, both anesthetists and hypnotherapists, teamed up with Nicolas Schaettel to leverage modern technologies to enhance a surgical technique that has roots dating back to the late 18th century: medical hypnosis. And thus, the idea for HypnoVR began to take shape.

By combining a bespoke immersive virtual reality experience and medical hypnosis techniques, HypnoVR has been clinically validated and is already in use in over 240 healthcare institutions across Europe as a form of non-pharmacological anesthesia, thereby significantly reducing the use of sedative drugs, and the associated side effects they’re infamously known to cause.

Since late 2016 HypnoVR has published 13 scientific papers, demonstrating the efficacy of their method with studies showing a 93% reduction in anxiety when placing implantable ports, a 41% reduction in chronic pain, and a 45% reduction in the consumption of opioids.

HypnoVR’s Series A round was led by Theodorus (Belgium), the Banque des Territoires (France) operating for the French state as part of the Investments for the Future Programme (Programme d’investissements d’avenir, PIA), Akiles (Belgium), and Capital Grand Est via Alsace Création (France). Also participating were existing investors including Guillaume Richard, founder and CEO of OuiCare, and the family office of Daniel Caille, founder and CEO of Vivalto Santé (the third-largest provider of private hospital services in France). And as with all things tech and French, HypnoVR also received funding from Bpifrance.

“This is the first time Theodorus has made an investment outside of Belgium. What really convinced us was the experience of the team and the numerous possibilities opened up by the company’s pioneering technology, which offers healthcare professionals an additional tool to care for patients both in hospital and private practice,” commented Theodorus’ Alexandre Jouve.

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