An employer-led mental fitness training platform has raised £1.2 million.
Fika, founded in 2017 and based in London, is specifically focused on mental fitness – not mental health – with a mission to make mental fitness as normal and necessary as physical fitness.
It is the brainchild of Nick Bennett and Gareth Fryer. Bennett has experienced first-hand the devastating toll that poor mental health can take on someone, having lost his best friend to suicide, while Fryer has faced intense mental health challenges due to two cancer diagnoses.
Fika has onboarded 70+ clients since January this year including leading retailer DFS.
The funding comes from lead investor Rising Stars, as well as a syndicate of 10 expert angel investors from the US and UK.
These include Biogen board member Brian Posner, David Gallagher – Fika’s new chairman – along with Srin Madipalli and HealthTech angel Pam Garside.
Fika aims to support the 80% of the workforce which falls between workplace perks and employee assistance programmes.
It says it is empowering employers to support this huge percentage of employees who categorise themselves as ‘fine’, but who, in reality, are rarely given the tools to deal with everyday challenges.
“You would never run a marathon without training, yet employees are consistently being put under pressure to perform their role without the relevant mental fitness skills or training,” said Bennett.
“Our goal is to empower businesses to introduce a ‘day one duty of care’ towards mental fitness that reaches every employee.
“By bringing scalable performance psychology to entire businesses, our platform prevents the risk of psychological injury to human and financial capital and keeps employees safe and healthy.”
The scalable platform provides employees with a series of short, personalised and evidence-based courses, developed in partnership with performance psychologists. Employees receive personalised training pathways aligned to their personal and career goals based on the seven skills of mental fitness to increase focus, confidence, motivation, connection, meaning, positivity and stress management.
To date, the courses have proven to increase focus by 15%, motivation by 14% and engagement rates have averaged at 70%.
The new funding will go towards expanding the team across all business functions, driving its first go-to-market strategy, as well as supporting further R&D, particularly the development of its mental fitness technology, diagnostic tools and AI-driven personalised pathways.
Posner said: “The mental health market is a huge and growing market, but it’s clear that for all the support out there, millions of people are falling between the cracks. We are seeing a clear trend towards a need for sustainable skills development for mental fitness and post pandemic duty of care.
“Fika is putting the tools into the hands of employers so mental fitness training can reach people at scale. I am delighted to be joining as chairman and look forward to seeing Fika go from strength to strength.”