Online mental health platform, Shezlong, has raised new investments to expand its services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The digital platform also aims to reach out to Arabic speakers worldwide, and introduce new products that focus on mental health, including Texting-Based Therapy and Corporate Wellness programmes.
The new investment has come from Singapore-based investor, AAIC, which focuses on the healthcare sector in Africa, and GCC-based Mohamed El Khamissy, Chairperson of MK Capital, and an investor in several health and wellness and sports entities across the world. Investment has also come from Khaled Ismail, Chairperson of HIMangel, a leading angel fund in Egypt, which focuses on health-tech and is one of Shezlong’s early investors.
“Mental health is important at every stage of life, and our mission at Shezlong is to help people manage their psychological and mental health at all times and make therapy accessible to everyone,” said Ahmed Abu ElHaz, Founder and CEO of Shezlong, “We believe that with the new investment, Shezlong will be able to expand its services vertically and horizontally in the Middle East. “
Founded in 2014, Shezlong allows patients to connect with licensed therapists through online video visits. It offers free assessments to understand the patients’ mental health and to detect any areas of concern.
“I am excited to be part of this deal with Shezlong, a much needed online service amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought with it a lot of emotional pressure,” said El Khamissy, “I believe that having a balanced mind and body is essential for individuals to live a healthy lifestyle, and Shezlong along with its professional therapists offer the perfect platform for that.”
Shezlong also uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which teaches stress- and anxiety-management techniques, and provides users with relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and positive self-talk. It is recognised that such methods are useful considering the current stressful situation, and the anxiety caused by the uncertainty and social distancing.
“Your mind controls your health and Shezlong has a great potential to help bring people back to good health through its platform with its privacy protection,” said Shigeru Handa, Director of AAIC, “We live in a stressful world with uncertainties such as COVID -19, which has led to increasing psychological distress.”
The platform, which currently hosts 500+ consultants, has attracted ten thousand cases from several countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Germany, and the US. It also has about 100,000+ registered users who follow up frequently with their therapists.
“HIMangel has invested early in Shezlong and decided to join this round too as we continue to believe in the mission of the company, serving people who need mental health support. Besides the peak in demand that is happening during these difficult times, we believe that the number of people who need mental health support is much higher than reported, and the convenience and quality of support offered by Shezlong will uncover these numbers”, said Khaled Ismail, Chairman of HIMangel.