Peppy, the U.K. employee healthcare benefits platform focusing on family support, female health and mental well-being, has raised £1.7 million in seed funding.
Leading the round is Outward VC, with participation from Seedcamp, Hambro Perks, Form Ventures and various unnamed angel investors. The London-based startup says the new funding will support the next stage of Peppy’s growth as it begins to expand its team and the platform with "new fertility and mental health support."
Founded in 2018 by Mridula Pore, Evan Harris, and Max Landry, Peppy is building an employee healthcare benefits platform for businesses, specialising in providing employees with access to "expert support" through critical life transitions. It is already working with companies and organisations across industries such as legal and financial services, utilities and media, name-checking the CBI, Aldi, Penguin Random House and the National Lottery Fund as customers.
"There are many points in your life when your physical or mental health can be vulnerable, but you are not 'ill.' You and your family just need some extra support," explains Peppy CEO and co-founder Mridula Pore. "For example, trying to conceive, becoming a parent or going through the menopause, but there are many more."
To compound the problem, Pore says that current healthcare services "are simply not set up to cater for these life transitions." GPs have very limited time to handle questions, and private health insurance often doesn't cover certain scenarios. "So people often fall through the cracks," she says. "This can cause many more issues in terms of your health, relationships and ability to be present, engaged and productive at work."
To that end, Peppy’s platform is already available for employees going through early parenthood and menopause. It provides access one-to-one chat support with an expert or a mental health practitioner, moderated group chats with peers in similar situations, and online group exercises for postnatal women and those over 40. In addition, bespoke support, such as phone and video consultations for breastfeeding and baby sleep support, or a consultation with a menopause practitioner, is also available through the platform.
Peppy says that experts provided to employees through the platform have "completed accredited training programmes and meet the requirements of relevant professional bodies."
"Recently, we were also selected amongst 1,600 applicants to do a trial with the NHS, supporting new and expecting parents during the Covid-19 crisis as part of the U.K. government's Techforce19 initiative," adds Pore. "We were able to show a huge improvement in the mental well-being of parents, by giving them the right support at the right time."
With regards to competitors, the Peppy CEO says that people inevitably end up on Google or on peer-to-peer platforms such as Facebook groups or apps like Peanut. "Peppy is different because we offer trusted, expert-led support, tailored to you and your family's journey," she says.