About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Psychology Online icons - 20 shades of startup

Psychology Online was founded by two NHS psychologists to connect psychotherapists and patients through the web.

In 2011, the founders recruited a management team to explore the demand for remote therapy within the NHS and raise investment to grow the business. After a first pilot in 2012, they were commissioned as an Any Qualified Provider (AQP) last year and today have more than 250 patients using their secure instant messaging technique – which means that patient and therapist never see each other.

For the year ahead, PsychologyOnline’s main focus is generating and disseminating more data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the model, and winning more NHS contracts.

We asked Barnaby Perks, co-founder of Psychology Online, about his experience and reflections on starting up

What was your experience of being in Cambridge?

Recruiting talent is always challenging, but one of the reasons we’re in Cambridge is that there’s so much good talent available. The Cambridge ecosystem attracts innovative people.

Psychology Online logo

In your industry, there is especially one big client – the NHS. Does this system work well with startups?

One of the big challenges for small private companies coming into the NHS is there’s often resistance - not from everybody - but it’s there. Even if you find a champion in an organisation, you’ll often find other people who just don’t want it to happen. It’s partly because we’re seen as a threat and partly because they just haven’t done things that way before.

Does the health sector pose challenges that other tech startups do not face?

A lot of people say that in tech startups everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you had planned. In health it’s probably four times as long and four times as much.