Jimmy Qian and Lucia Huang, the co-founders of a new clinical practice management and data analysis platform for mental health providers focusing on cutting edge psychedelic treatments, met at Stanford University.
The two both come from healthcare backgrounds. Huang, whose mother was a biomedical engineer, worked as an associate at Warburg Pincus focused on healthcare and worked at the startup Verge Genomics before heading to Stanford’s business school while Qian was in medical school at Stanford.
Both also went to high school in the Bay Area and were intimately familiar with the mental health crisis affecting the communities around Silicon Valley.
Qian worked on a few non-profits in the mental health space through his undergraduate years at Penn and then again in the Bay Area while he was at Stanford.
Osmind’s founders say the goal for their young startup is to help patients access innovative treatments to mental health by providing clinicians and pharmaceutical companies with software and services that will make the provision of care, and proof of the efficacy of treatment, more readily available.
There are 11 million Americans that are resistant to most mental health therapies, according to Huang and Qian. Those patients can cost the healthcare as much as $250 billion, they said. “Nobody has been able to help this patient population,” said Huang in an interview. “Pharma doesn’t develop drugs for them.”
Now graduating with Y Combinator’s latest cohort of companies, Osmind’s public benefit corporation intends to aggregate data from the sickest patient population and provide that data to drug developers for clinical trials and to help insurers route patients to the treatment providers that can benefit them the most, according to Qian.
The company, which launched its services two months ago, already has 30 practices using its software covering 3,000 patients.
“The beauty of all of this is that it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Huang. Providers get a software platform that streamlines administrative tasks and provides patient outreach and remote monitoring services. They also have a web portal that allows them to view patient progress.
Qian said its a service designed for physicians that are not necessarily technically savvy. It also provides a dataset that can be used to clinically validate some of these more experimental forms of therapy including psychedelics and ketamine treatment.
“We improve the care journey,” said Qian. “These are clinics that don’t have the manpower to do that.. You can’t call your patients every single day.”
Ginger, a provider of on demand mental healthcare services, has raised $50 million in a new round of funding.
The new capital comes as interest and investment in mental health and wellness has emerged as the next big area of interest for investors in new technology and healthcare services companies.
Mental health startups saw record deal volumes in the second quarter of 2020 on the heels of rising demand caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the data analysis firm CB Insights. More than 55 companies raised rounds of funding over the quarter, even though deal amounts declined 15% to $491 million. That’s still nearly half a billion dollars invested into mental health in one quarter alone.
What started in 2011 as a research-based company spun out of work from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has become one of the largest providers of mental health services primarily through employer-operated health insurance plans.
Through Ginger’s services, patients have access to a care coordinator that is the first point of entry into the company’s mental health plans. That person is a trained behavioral health coach — typically someone with a master’s degree in psychology with a behavioral health coaching certificate from schools like Duke, UCLA, Michigan or Columbia and 200 hours of training provided by Ginger itself.
These health coaches provide the majority of care that Ginger’s patients receive. For more serious conditions, Ginger will bring in specialists to coordinate care or provide access to medications to alleviate the condition, according to the company’s chief executive officer, Russell Glass.
Ginger began offering its on-demand care services in 2016 and counts tens of thousands of active users on the platform. The company charges companies a fee for access to its services on a per-employee, per-month basis and provides access to mental health services to hundreds of thousands of employees through corporate benefit plans, Glass said.
Over 200 companies, including Delta Air Lines, Sanofi, Chegg, Domino’s, SurveyMonkey, and Sephora, pay Ginger to cost-efficiently provide employees with high-quality mental healthcare. Ginger members can access virtual therapy and psychiatry sessions as an in-network benefit through the company’s relationships with leading regional and national health plans, including Optum Behavioral Health, Anthem California, and Aetna Resources for Living, according to a statement.
“Our entire mission here is to break the supply/demand imbalance and provide far more care,” said Glass in an interview. “Ultimately we want Ginger to be available to anybody who has a need. Being accessible to anybody, anywhere is an important part of the strategy. that means direct-to-consumer will be a direction we head in.”
For now, the company will use the money to build out its partner ecosystem with companies like Cigna, an investor in the company’s latest $50 million round. Ginger will also look to getting government payers to reach more people. eventually direct-to-consumer could become a larger piece of the business as the company drives down costs of care.
It’s also investing in automation and natural language processing to automate care pathways and personalizing patient care using machine learning.
The company’s $50 million Series D round was co-led by Advance Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, with additional participation from Cigna Ventures and existing investors such as Jeff Weiner, Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. To date, Ginger has raised roughly $120 million.
Even as Ginger is working through the existing network of employer benefit plans and stand-alone insurance providers to offer its mental health services, other startups are raising money to offer employer-provided mental health and wellness plans. SonderMind is working to make it easier for independent mental health professionals to bill insurers, AbleTo helps employers screen for undiagnosed mental health conditions, and SilverLight Health partners with organizations to digitally monitor and manage mental health care.
Meanwhile other startups are going direct-to-consumer with a flood of offerings around mental health. Well-financed, billion dollar-valued companies like Ro and Hims are offering mental health and wellness packages to customers, while Headspace has both a consumer facing and employer benefit offering. And upstart companies like Real are focusing on providing care specifically for women.
With its funding round, Ginger is adding David ibnAle, a founding partner at Advance Venture Partners (AVP), which is the investment firm behind S.I. Newhouse’s family-owned media and technology holding company, Advance; and the digital health investment guru Steve Kraus from Bessemer Venture Partners.
“AVP invests in companies that are using technology to tackle large-scale, global challenges and transform traditional businesses and business models,” said David ibnAle, Founding Partner of Advance Venture Partners. “Ginger is doing just that. We are excited to partner with an exceptional team to help make high-quality, on-demand mental healthcare a reality for millions of more people around the world.”
Hims, the startup consumer health brand providing out-of-pocket physician services online, has launched group therapy services through its Hims and Hers brands as part of an initial push into mental health services.
The company first began exploring opportunities to expand into the mental health category around eight months ago, and accelerated its pace to respond to increased consumer demand cery aused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental health and wellness has become a huge business opportunity for consumer startups as the stigma around seeking treatment for mental health issues has abated.
For Hims, which built its brand around the destigmatization of …