Mental Health Tech Startup Clayful Raises $7M to Connect Students with Instant Support


Clayful, a groundbreaking mental health platform for students aged eight to 18, has secured $7 million in funding from notable investors, including Google Latino Founders Fund, Reach Capital, Ovo Fund, Common Sense Ventures, Charter School Growth Fund, and Wisdom Ventures.

The platform’s core mission is to provide students with rapid access to certified mental health experts within 60 seconds. Maria Barrera, CEO of Clayful, expressed the company’s commitment to ensuring that every student has a trusted human coach readily available on their personal devices or school equipment. The design is centered on meeting students where they are, both online and on their schedules.

The inspiration behind Clayful arose from recognizing the flaws in the country’s mental health system, particularly in light of a New York Times article highlighting a rise in suicides among eight-year-olds. After thorough research involving conversations with teachers, parents, kids, and counselors, Barrera identified schools as crucial access points for children’s mental health services. The increasing demand for support was overwhelming counselors, leaving many kids without the assistance they desperately needed.


Clayful Coaching in Action

Image Credits: Clayful

Despite recommendations from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) for one counselor per 250 students, recent research indicates that the actual ratio is one counselor for every 444 students. To address this shortage, Barrera and Melissa Pelochino, Chief Experience Officer at Clayful, leveraged their extensive experience in the edtech and education sectors, founding Clayful two years ago.

Unlike competitors in the industry, Clayful stands out by connecting users with mental health experts in just 60 seconds through instant messaging technology, fostering real-time connections and dialogues between students and coaches. The platform, offering support in 133 languages, focuses on providing accessible and inclusive mental health services. Importantly, the service is entirely free for students, with funding coming from partnering school districts.

The impact of Clayful’s approach is evident in improved student attendance rates. According to the startup, students engaging in coaching chat programs during the 2022-2023 school year exhibited significantly better attendance, with an average rate of 95%, compared to 91% for students with no coaching interactions.

With plans to scale its team and expand its reach to more schools and students, Clayful is poised to make a meaningful difference in student mental health support across the nation. The fully remote company, boasting over 100 staff members, including mental care coaches, is well-positioned to use the newly secured funds for these ambitious growth goals.

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