Koko started as a clinical trial at MIT and evolved into a venture-backed startup, supported by Union Square and Spero Ventures.

Koko is based on the concept of crowdsourced cognitive therapy. In essence, the platform empowered its users to help each other think more hopefully about the world. Unlike traditional peer support platforms, all interactions on our service were supported and augmented by AI.

At its peak, Koko was embedded into various social networks, including Tumblr, Kik and Pinterest. Individuals at risk of self-harm and suicide are identified programmatically, via deep neural net classifiers. These individuals are then routed to one of over 60 crisis lines around the world. The whole process - a considerable advance over the status quo - led to a 23% increase in the rates at which users actually contacted these services (see our Harvard paper on this work).

To help support this project, please follow us on Instagram at @koko.community or contact rob@koko.ai.

Academic Publications

The Koko platform hashelped advance mental health research across a variety of domains, including suicide prevention, AI, and social psychology, among others. We chave ollaborated with many academic institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, and the University of Cambridge. Some representative publications can be seen here.

Popular Press

The Verge



The Wall Street Journal

Fast Company


The War for Kindness

The Future of Feeling: Building Empathy in a Tech-Obsessed World

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Adolescents


Code Therapy


You Are Not So Smart

Suicide Prevention and Social Media

Health Redesigned