June 22, 2024

Vitavo Yage

Best Health Creates a Happy Life

Stellar Sleep Raises $6M to Help End Sleeplessness With the First Digital Sleep Therapy Platform for Chronic Insomnia

5 min read

Stellar Sleep, which provides the first digital solution for chronic insomnia management, announced today a $6 million seed round, led by Initialized Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Lombardstreet Ventures, Switch Ventures, Moonfire Ventures, Scrum Ventures, 8vdx, and Goodwater.

More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia – meaning sleep problems 3+ nights a week for 3+ months. The condition can lead to both mental and physical health issues, ranging from trouble concentrating to sleep apnea and heart attacks. For people suffering from chronic insomnia, superficial care advice (e.g. cutting coffee, reducing screen time, meditation, etc.) is not enough. Their insomnia is driven by deeper psychological challenges like unresolved anxiety, burnout, or depression. Stellar Sleep is a mobile app that helps users break the insomnia cycle using a proven, psychology-based methodology, and a clinical assessment of 500 users found it to be 50 percent more effective than sleeping pills.

This seed funding represents a significant milestone for Stellar Sleep, providing the ability to further expand capacity and reach. In addition, investments will allow for more comprehensive content and personalization of the user experience. “No one values sleep as much as those who can’t get it. The treatment options are so limited that these founders got trained as sleep therapists to treat themselves,” said Parul Singh, Partner at Initialized Capital. “Stellar Sleep is tech-enabled Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – true tech enablement of patient care that will make a meaningful impact on the millions of people who suffer from sleep disorders worldwide.”

Sleeplessness in America is on the rise, due to factors such as increasingly negative news cycles that keep people in a state of worry. Additionally, the shift towards hybrid-remote work arrangements has blurred the once-clear boundary between the “stress” space of work and the “rest” space of home. Collectively, these factors have caused more Americans to have recurrent sleepless nights than ever before.

The current American healthcare system isn’t well-equipped to deal with chronic insomnia. When superficial remedies don’t work, many people grappling with this condition turn to sleep medications, which often have dependency risks and are not meant for long-term use. Research shows that the most effective long-term solution for chronic insomnia is to address the root psychological causes, instead of just the symptoms.

Stellar Sleep was created when both Co-Founders (George Wang and Edrei Chua) personally suffered from insomnia for years and struggled to get care. Guidelines by physician organizations indicate that the best way to manage chronic insomnia is using a psychological approach called sleep therapy. This type of approach addresses the root cause of insomnia and helps the patient re-learn how to sleep well again. “What we found as we tried to get treatment for ourselves was that sleep clinicians are in such short supply – waiting lists of 6-12 months are common – that access to psychology-based care is a significant obstacle for the average person,” said Wang. “In addition to the waiting list, the cost and time commitment involved meant that out-of-pocket sleep therapy was out of reach for most. We founded Stellar Sleep with the goal of providing broad access to insomnia care via an app, a solution to a widespread public health problem that was previously unavailable to many.”

Stellar Sleep is the first digital solution on the market that goes beyond the surface-level symptoms and addresses chronic insomnia at the root. Here’s how it works:

  1. Users download the app, create an account, and complete an onboarding assessment that allows Stellar Sleep to understand the comprehensive picture behind their sleep issues. Users can also connect their wearables to provide an even more complete view of their sleep and well-being.
  2. Next, Stellar Sleep builds each user a custom, interactive program that guides them daily – and as needed in the middle of the night – to learn how to sleep well again. The program gets progressively more personalized based on the user’s sleep stats.
  3. Finally, Stellar Sleep helps users manage the user’s chronic sleep issues over the long run using psychology. This includes a combination of proven psychology techniques (e.g., CBT, acceptance and commitment therapy, motivational interviewing) that addresses the user’s root causes of insomnia (such as anxiety or burnout) and provides them with the tools to manage those root causes, so they don’t interfere with their day-to-day life and sleep.

“Stellar Sleep is the solution that we wish we had during our multi-year struggle with chronic insomnia,” said Wang.

Beyond the impact on physical and mental health, insomnia can be an incredibly isolating experience. Here’s a quote from Victoria, who struggled with insomnia for many years before finding Stellar Sleep: “I’ve had insomnia for about 5 years. I was at the point of desperation, willing to try anything. Insomnia feels very lonely. It’s 2 am and your spouse is asleep. You’re very alone with your anxious thoughts. It feels like you’re trapped and alone. After starting Stellar Sleep I’ve now started sleeping better for the first time in 5 years. I’ve gotten hope back that I can be normal.” With Stellar Sleep, anyone with chronic insomnia is now able to access personalized care at their fingertips and regain control over their lives.

About Stellar Sleep

Stellar Sleep offers the first digital solution for chronic insomnia management. 25 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia, defined as sleep problems 3+ nights a week for 3+ months. Superficial approaches such as meditation or melatonin don’t help with chronic insomnia, which is typically rooted in deeper psychological challenges. Stellar Sleep was founded by two chronic insomnia sufferers who grew frustrated with the lack of resources available to address their condition. The app is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and in a clinical assessment of 500 users, Stellar Sleep was 50 percent more effective than sleeping pills. Subscriptions start at $60/month. Learn more at stellarsleep.com.

Originally announced February 6th, 2024

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