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Egypt’s O7 Therapy Raises $2.1M to Tackle Mental Health Across MENA

In addition to its ambitious regional expansion plans, the Cairo-based platform will look to channel the fund into expanding the reach of its corporate programmes.

With the pandemic exposing the many gaps in modern healthcare systems, MENA healthtechs have emerged among some of the most innovative and ultimately valuable startups. In Egypt, the likes of Vezeeta, Yodawy, Chefaa and many others have gone some way to plugging said holes. Yet, the pandemic also brought to light another barrier that has often seen the region reject alternative medical practices.

One startup is looking to change that and will have the benefit of a fresh $2.1 million seed round to help. Cairo-based 07 Therapy has raised the investment from Hikma Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Jordan-born, UK-based company, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, with participation from New York-based Lotus Ventures and Cairo's C-Ventures.

Founded in 2019 by Ashraf Bacheet, Ashraf Adel, and Nader Iskander, 07 Therapy tackles mental wellness through a science and evidence-based platform, powered by a network of bilingual psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Using an advanced matching tool, users are connected with therapists that suit their needs, which are deciphered through a questionnaire. 

The startup’s seed round speaks of a booming healthtech sector across MENA, which pulled in an impressive $107 million in investments in 2021, representing a 29% YoY growth in funding. The largest deal came in the form Dubai-based selfologi’s $17.5 million raise, with the majority of the investments as a whole concentrating on pharma marketplaces and digital health platforms. Despite this, startups offering insurtech, online consultations and medical record management are hot on their tails, though the mental wellness space’s foray into tech is still somewhat nascent, though mental health awareness in a country that has often swept it under the rug of taboos is steadily increasing.

“Our Investment in mental wellbeing improves the lives of individuals in all areas of life; their student life, work, homes, family, friends and even physical health,” said co-founder Nader. "This in turn improves the performance of entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporate and government employees, positively affecting countries economically. “Employee Wellness Programs for organisations are provided through a unique B2B2E model, prioritising the impact of mental health challenges in the workplace, focusing on raising awareness and understanding, creating safe and supportive spaces, and implementing strategies that promote mental wellbeing.”

It’s understood that the investment will be channelled into growth across the MENA region, while new product features and developments are in the pipeline as the startup also looks to expand its client case, which includes companies and organisations, with the startup aiming to extend the reach of its corporate wellness programme.