UO startup Ksana Health receives grant to accelerate launch

Nick Allen

Ksana Health, a digital mental health company that grew out of research conducted by UO psychology professor Nick Allen, has received a boost from in the form of a Venture Launch Grant.

The grant is awarded by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. It was recently revived after a six-year hiatus and supports qualified startup companies, said Chuck Williams, associate vice president for innovation.

“It is a core mission of the University of Oregon to help our faculty bring their innovations from academia to the people,” Williams said. “We are especially excited to help the Ksana Health team accelerate to market via the UO Venture Launch Grant program.”

Co-founded by Allen and Will Shortt, a software business leader and startup CEO, Ksana Health was recently launched with a mission to improve mental health outcomes. Its aim is to bring the therapy plan out of the office and into the patient’s daily life via a personalized mental health platform.

The company is considered a spinoff because it stems directly from UO research: an evidence-based, peer-reviewed research platform developed at the Center for Digital Mental Health, where Allen serves as director.

Ksana leverages the Effortless Assessment Research System apps for iOS and Android devices, which passively pull data from a patient’s phone related to known mental health vectors — such as sleep, physical activity, social interaction and self-reporting — and securely share that objective data with a therapist. The therapist will be able to quickly view the data, discuss it in therapy and build a plan with “nudges” in the apps that will remind patients of their scheduled therapy plan throughout their week, along with their medications and appointments. 

Ksana Health also received support from the RAIN Accelerator and UO Entrepreneurial Center. The company plans to announce its first pilot customers in the coming months.

“None of this would have been possible without the partnership of the UO, and we are very grateful,” Shortt said.