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UK startup Voda raises £270K to make LGBTQIA+ mental health accessible

Voda founders
Picture credits: Voda

Voda, a mental health startup headquartered in the UK, has secured £270K in pre-seed funding after the test launch in 2023. The round was led by Freiraum Ventures alongside impact investors Lightbulb Trust and ULTRA VC.

How does it plan to use the funding?

the funding will support the app’s offerings to provide inclusive and accessible mental health support for queer people. Voda aims to help combat the UK’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and LGBTQIA+ mental health crisis. 

The UK’s queer mental health challenge

As per a recent research led by the University of Manchester, trans people in England are more likely to have long-term poor mental health with some facing a risk five times higher than cisgender people. In 2022, YouGov reported that half of LGBTIA+ Britons (51%) said they experienced or were diagnosed with a mental health condition, compared to a third of the general population (32%). 

Resolving this challenge, Voda is designed to help LGBTQIA+ people build self-compassion, heal and release shame. 

What does Voda do?

Founded by Kris Jack and Jaron Soh, Voda makes mental well-being support more accessible, inclusive, and intersectional. Irrespective of gender, sexuality, or relationship diversity, Voda offers queer folks evidence-backed tools to move towards thriving and fulfilled lives. Its innovative offering includes personalised advice, queer-led meditations, cognitive journaling, and self-guided therapy programmes rooted in the lived experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The platform, co-designed with seven LGBTQIA+ psychotherapists who identify across the spectrum of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, currently serves over 12,000 LGBTQIA+ folks globally, with 4,000 users in the UK, the largest percentage of its global users.

The app teaches the user evidence-based therapy approaches to self-regulate, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness.

Over the next five years, Voda aims to reach and serve over 7 million LGBTQIA individuals globally, enhancing accessibility to tailored and inclusive mental health support.

Jaron Soh (he/him), co-founder and CEO of Voda commented: “We started Voda because each of us had faced mental health struggles related to our queer identities and wanted to create a supportive space for others on similar journeys. Our personal experiences of overcoming shame and the lack of access to genuine support have gone on to shape the app for our users. We hope that by placing lived experience at the forefront of our approach, Voda will have more impact and foster deeper understanding and connection with queer folks.” 

David Photien, Partner at Freiraum Ventures, commented: “As health technologies advance, offering more personalised care, we are delighted to partner with Voda in their mission to provide inclusive and accessible mental health support to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Sammi Wei, angel investor and founder of, commented: “For every avoidable tragedy broadcasted about our community, I’m reminded of society’s audacity to deny us the basic ethics of love and identity. This is why I’m investing in Voda to be a dependable source of healing and comfort to our queer and trans siblings everywhere in the world.”  

Investor Richard Duncalf OBE JP added, “Investing in Voda as an angel investor was a privilege. There was no way that I wouldn’t support the team and the wider LGBTQIA+ community”.

What do we think about Voda? 

The LGBTQIA+ community faces high rates of mental health issues due to systemic discrimination and personal trauma. The financial inaccessibility of private therapy, combined with the lack of LGBTQIA+ affirming care within the NHS is worsening this mental health crisis, leaving many without the support they need. Voda’s funding round shows its commitment to addressing this crisis and making the queer community’s mental health more accessible.  

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