River Snapshot: Psious is immersing people in their fears, and improving lives along the way
As a part of our ongoing mission to showcase the virtual reality industry’s hottest startups we headed over to River, Rothenberg Ventures’ new accelerator program for VR, for an inside look at (a ‘VR Snapshot’ if you will) each of the 13 companies (selected from a group of 200) in the program, before their big demo day Monday.
Immersive therapy is going to help a whole lot of people in the near future, and VR is only going to make those treatments more effective. Studies have shown that immersion therapy – where the patient is immersed in an environment meant to provoke their anxieties and fears in an effort to desensitize the patient to them, can significantly improve the effectiveness of anxiety and phobia therapies. In fact according to this article in the Psychiatric Times, “research literature suggests that exposure-based therapy should be considered the first-line treatment for a variety of anxiety disorders.
Virtual reality has the power to increase not only the effectiveness of the treatments, but their accessibility as well. By bringing that immersion into the patients homes and therapists offices, it saves on both time and money – as before the patients had to actually be immersed in the situation (i.e. actually speaking on stage, or actually having spiders crawl over you). It is for this reason that companies like Psious are so important. Psious is currently developing a number of different experiences to treat anxiety disorders and phobia. We had a chance to sit down with the company’s CEO and Founder, Xavier Palomer about the project.
Who is Psious?
Psious is currently building a solution for anxiety disorder such as specific phobias. We have a full set of VR environments that allow therapists to treat sufferers in a better and faster way. VR is a medically proven way of treating mental disorders but it was not massively adopted for the clinicians because it was not affordable until now, thanks to Psious. At Psious we use a mobile-based technology that is democratizing these kinds of treatments.
Our vision is to become the reference of VR in healthcare. We started by anxiety disorders such as specific phobias, because is the most proven way to apply VR in healthcare. But we are already expanding to more severe disorders such as addictions or OCD.
What is the team’s background?
We have a world class team of physicists, software developers and psychologists that have teamed up to solve this unique problem. Our work is supported by an incredible advisory board with deep experience in virtual reality, medicine, and digital health care. Research and technology leaders are part of the founding team. We currently have 6 people on the team:
- Xavier Palomer, Co-founder and CEO
- Dani Roig, Co-founder and VP of sales
- Victor Garcia, CTO
- Xavier Oromi, HEad of VR Development
- Isabel Font, Product Manager
- Fernando Aguado, CFO
When did the team start working together?
Xavier and Dani studied together Physics and Electronic Engineering at the University of Barcelona. After that, Dani started working in a startup as a project manager for 5 years. Meanwhile Xavier went to U.S. to do a Masters in Science at University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2013 both friends rejoined in Barcelona and realized that both wanted to start their own project. Then is when Psious was born. Psious exists due to Dani’s fear of flying and the lack of treatments he found.
Where are you guys at now with your projects?
We are working with our early adopters in order to improve current solution according to patient needs. On top of that, our system is constantly expanding to news solutions for disorders we do not currently have a solution for.
Why do you feel the work you are doing is important for VR?
We are one of the very few companies in the VR with a current recurring revenue, specially outside of the entertainment space. Psious has demonstrated that VR can be used in a huge range of areas such as healthcare being able to generate revenue and proving there is a need for VR.
Have you received funding? If so, how much?
We have raised $300k up to today, from public loans and FFF. We are currently raising $1.2MM with 85% of it already committed. I cannot talk about who is in the round now, it is confidential.
How can people experience your work for themselves?
They can see a demo of our product in this Youtube video:
Using VR to make peoples lives better is a mission I think we can all get behind. The work the team is doing is incredibly important and deserves recognition, especially with over 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety disorders, and 16 million who suffer from a “clinically significant phobia.” We will continue to follow the team as they make their way into the doctors offices around the world, and hopefully begin curing people very soon.
Be sure to stay tuned for our continued coverage of all the companies at Rothenberg Ventures’ River program as they prepare for their big day Monday.