Ami has closed a $3 million seed round from investors four months after its beta launch. Notable investors include Facebook with investment from Meta’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, an experimental app division under the tech giant. Ami is the Facebook owner’s first early-stage startup investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are impressed by the Ami team’s passion and talent and look forward to supporting them as they build on WhatsApp to give people in Asia another way to support their mental health,” said Sunita Parasuraman who leads NPE’s investments at Meta.

Other investors in the funding round include Goodwater Capital (which has backed Kakao, Coupang, and Viva Republica), Strong Ventures, January Capital, and Collaborative Fund.

Ami, a Singapore and Jakarta-based startup focusing on mental health aims to make mental healthcare more accessible for employees in Asia. This will be done through counseling sessions that take place on messaging platforms like Whatsapp.

Ami was founded by Justin Kim, a Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alum with CTO Beknazar Abdikamalov. Justin Kim was previously a product owner at Korean billionaire Lee Seung-gun’s Viva Republica, which operates the finance superapp Toss. Beknazar Abdikamalov was a software engineer at Amazon.

Ami plans to expand in Asia by providing companies the ability to attract and retain top talent with a concrete mental health support platform. Ami offers its platform to startups as well due to their more stressful environment along with any company that prioritizes retaining top talent in the region.

“What we hope to do is to make the narrative around mental health a lot more proactive for individuals who want to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Justin Kim. “So they can kind of deal with the stress that inevitably happens on a day-to-day basis, but also could prevent issues from becoming larger than they need to be.”

However, stigma against mental health is still prevalent in Asia, and reaching out for help is a problem where the concept of mental health is repeatedly undermined. This stigma poses a significant challenge for startups like Ami.

Kim’s solution to the stigma is by viewing it as mental wellness that benefits everyone. Employees can discuss anything on their minds with Ami and reduce the perceived difficulty of looking for support.

Ami works around potential discrepancies by stating that their practitioners are “coaches” on their platform as cities across Asia have different requirements for what constitutes a mental health counselor.

Ami’s end goal is to make tangible improvements in the well-being of employees compared to the other underutilized or ineffective wellness solutions used by companies. Justin Kim hopes that hesitant users will be encouraged to try the service as more employees start to share and use Ami.

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