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Gamify your health

Gamify your health
June 23, 2020

A new video game is just what the doctor ordered, at least for some kids. For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a prescription video game. Now, physicians may prescribe Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRx, formerly known as Project EVO, to children between the ages of 8 and 12 who struggle with ADHD.

The game challenges users to dodge obstacles and collect targets as they navigate icy winter wonderlands and lava rivers, guided by aliens who zip around on flying saucers. The developers say the game stimulates neural systems that are intrinsic to attention function. It also features adaptive algorithms that monitor each patient’s progress as they play, allowing for personalized ADHD treatment.

The decision follows seven years of clinical trials. Over five separate studies, researchers examined more than 600 kids to determine whether EndeavorRx could affect their ADHD symptoms. The FDA recommends that doctors prescribe game as a supplement to other treatments, such as therapy and medication.

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Tech as a Cure- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Startups:

Joyable, the San Francisco startup, which bills itself as the leading online solution for overcoming social anxiety, wants to help those who are time-strapped. The Joyable app offers brief, five-to-ten minute activities for users, ranging from checking in with your feelings at any given moment and examining 'personal values.' Individual plans cost $99 per month and typically involve eight-to-twelve weeks of guided therapy, including check-ins with a regular coach. The activities are modeled after a psychotherapy method called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, a heavily researched and widely-respected field.

Palo Alto, California-based Limbix is not your average virtual reality startup: It makes software that therapists use in what's called "exposure therapy," simulating stressful or trauma-inducing situations for patients to help them overcome their fears. Co-founder and CEO Benjamin Lewis, a former Google project manager, launched the company with Tony Hsieh in 2016. 

Woebot, the AI-powered app functions as a therapy chatbot for those suffering from depression and anxiety. Similar to Limbix, Woebot uses principles of CBT to recommend various tools and techniques for overcoming stressful situations on the fly. Founded by Alison Darcy, a clinical psychologist at Stanford University, and a team of researchers in 2017, Woebot costs $39 per month.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Collab Capital invests in black founder’s beauty startup Hairbrella. The new $500,000 investment comes from Collab Capital, an Atlanta-based investment fund designed to connect black founders to the financial and social capital they need to build profitable businesses.

VEREIT, Inc. announced today that its operating partnership, VEREIT Operating Partnership, L.P., priced an offering of $600 million aggregate principal amount of 3.40% senior notes due 2028 at an issue price of 99.144% of par value. 

Petlove, the Brazilian online pet retail brand, has received a “significant strategic investment” from the L Catterton. 

Ares Management Corporation, a leading global alternative investment manager, announced today that funds managed by its Alternative Credit Strategy led a $250 million revolving asset-backed credit facility for Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides consumers with a more simple and transparent form of credit.

Palantir Technologies has raised $500 million in a new round of funding, following reports that the company was aiming to file confidentially in the next couple weeks to go public.

Milk Mantra, a startup that procures, packages, sells and delivers milk and other dairy products, has raised $10 million in a new debt financing round as it looks to grow its business in India, where nearly a dozen startups have attempted and failed to serve this category in recent years.

CasaOne, a San Francisco, CA-based furniture rental company, received $50m in debt financing from Credit Suisse.

Yabb, social networking and instant messaging company today announced it has acquired Fango, a leading influencer marketing platform based in San Francisco with more than 40,000 member influencers and over 1.28 billion social media reach.

Mapillary, the Swedish startup that wants to take on Google and others in mapping the world via a crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, has been acquired by Facebook, according to the company’s blog. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.

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