Facebook Parent Injects IDR 43 Billion into Mental Health Startup Ami
Singapore and Indonesia-based mental health startup Ami has successfully closed an initial funding round of US$ 3 million or Rp 43 billion, including from Facebook parent Meta. This funding is the first investment in an early-stage startup from Meta in the Asian region.
Meta channeled fresh funds for the startup through the Meta New Product Experimentation (NPE) team. This is the experimental applications division which marks an early-stage investment.
The purpose of this team is to expand Meta investments outside the United States (US). “Meanwhile, funding for Ami is the Facebook owner’s first initial investment in Asia,” said Tech In Asia, Thursday (5/5).
Apart from Meta, other investors also involved in Ami’s funding round are Goodwater Capital, Strong Ventures, January Capital, and Collaborative Fund. Ami Co-founder and CEO Justin Kim said, through this funding, Ami is trying to further expand its market in the Asian region.
Services Offered by Ami
Ami provides services in the form of accessible personal health care for employees in the company. The startup leverages messaging platforms like WhatsApp for communication between users and support providers.
Through its services, employees can discuss any problems that are on their minds. Then, employees can reduce the perceived difficulties by seeking support.
“What we hope is to make the narrative around mental health more proactive for individuals who want to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” he said.
Kim said Ami provided mental health services because this issue was important. Mental illness in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Korea, and Thailand is seen as a personal weakness and less socially acceptable than other problems.
A report from Singapore’s National Institutes of Health in 2021 showed that the social costs of the six common mental health disorders could reach US$1.2 billion per year. This is caused by the problem of employee absenteeism and loss of work productivity due to mental health problems.
Sunita Parasuraman, head of investment at NPE Meta, said, “Meta invested in this mental health startup because it was impressed by the team’s passion and talent. Hopefully, Ami can give people in Asia another way to support their mental health,” said Parasuraman.
Facebook Growth Slows Significantly
Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s big dream to bring his company, Meta into the Metaverse realm since October last year, took his company’s stock hard. As a result, Zuckerberg said that in the future Meta will slow down the pace of some investments due to the business growth rate.
This was stated by Zuckerberg during the company’s first quarter earnings call Wednesday, as quoted from The Verge in Jakarta, Thursday (28/4/22).
Meta profit for the first quarter fell 21 percent from a year ago to USD7.5 billion (Rp108 trillion). The company’s revenue rose 7 percent to $27.9 billion, the slowest rate of growth since the company went public a decade ago.
Its target cost range for 2022 is lowered by $3 billion (Rp43 trillion). However, Zuckerberg still spends billions of years building the metaverse tools and software. He believes the metaverse will eventually be as big as the mobile internet.
Meta’s Reality Labs division, which makes Quest VR headsets and future AR glasses, had about 17,000 employees and lost nearly $3 billion in the last quarter alone. Meta investors today are not comfortable with that level of spending, especially when the payoff is years away.
Zuckerberg reveals that he spends $10 billion a year on Reality Labs. He expects the investment to grow even though it won’t see a return until at least the second half of the decade.
Plus, Facebook is growing more slowly than ever as younger users have left the service over competition from TikTok. At the same time, Apple’s ad tracking changes have cost Meta more than $10 billion in revenue.
And regulators have blocked Zuckerberg’s ability to make major and transformative acquisitions on social media that could drive growth again.