Blackbird, Giant Leap back healthtech startup tackling chronic pain with $3.5 million raise

- March 13, 2023 2 MIN READ
Co-founders Helena Ngo and Neala Fulia. Photo: Supplied
Melbourne  healthtech startup, MoreGoodDays has raised $3.5 million for a digital solution to managing chronic pain. 

The round was led by Blackbird, with support from impact fund Giant Leap, Side Stage Ventures, the Snow Foundation, and LaunchVic’s female-focused sidecar investment program, the Alice Anderson Fund. 

Neala Fulia and Helena Ngo co-founded the healthtech platform to help Australians suffering from severe pain via a digital all-at-home program that includes personalised support from therapists.

Fulia cofounded MoreGoodDays after seeing her father struggle with unexplained chronic pain to offer pain management strategies based on neuroscience and psychology. 

“Imagine living with pain every single day. Some days are worse than others and it’s out of your control. You’re unable to find any explanations for the pain despite multiple visits to your doctor,” Fulia said. 

“It hurts to do even the simplest things like washing dishes. You say no when you’re invited out and before you know it you’ve fallen into depression, which makes the pain worse This is not unusual for someone who’s living with chronic pain. And it’s a reality for almost 4 million Australians. Worse yet, options to manage their pain are limited and very expensive.”

The World Health Organisation reports that more than 1.5 billion people – fifth of the population live with chronic pain.

Chronic pain management costs Australia $144 billion annually, and the global market for pain management solutions is predicted to reach $162 billion by 2030.

The MoreGoodDays program provides affordable and accessible treatment without waitlists, starting with fibromyalgia, a condition that affects over 1 million Australians.

Over the 12-week program, clients will receive personalised guidance from a coach and learn science-based strategies that have proven helpful to hundreds of users 

After a successful 5-month pilot program, which saw 70% of patients report overall improvement, Helena Ngo said they plan to expand their focus, using the raise to launch a new chronic pain solution in the first half of this year.

“The gold standard of pain management combines both brain and body approaches through psychology with physiotherapy and occupational therapists,” she said.

“It’s usually a 12-week program run in hospitals costing the average person more than twice their monthly salary. This gold standard is unsurprisingly the last resort for the average Australian, as it is expensive and waitlists are up to 2 years long.” 

Blackbird partner Samantha Wong said Fulia understood the importance of the “democratisation of healthcare” as a caregiver to a family member with chronic pain and a former health innovation executive.

“We got to know her first through the Startmate Founders Fellowship, then our Giants program, and are proud to welcome her and Helena into the Blackbird portfolio as they help thousands of chronic pain sufferers have more good days in their lives.”

Giant Leap partner Adam Milgrom said “we’ve seen digital therapies, like MoreGoodDays, deliver incredible improvements to patient outcomes whilst also reducing healthcare costs. They not only change individual lives for the better but also free up the healthcare system to focus on other issues”.

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said that the $3.5 million fundraise is an “incredible endorsement of Neala and Helena as entrepreneurs and their deep connection to improving the lives of people with chronic pain”.