AbilTo picks up $12 million more for online behavioral health management tools

By Jonah Comstock
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AbilToNew York-based behavioral health startup AbilTo has raised $12 million in third round funding led by HLM Venture Partners. Existing investors BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, .406 Ventures and Sandbox Industries all contributed to the round as well. Yumin Choi, a partner at HLM, will join AbilTo's board.

AbilTo is focused on identifying and remotely treating mental health co-morbidities that can negatively affect recovery from medical conditions or events such as cardiac events, diabetes, or breast cancer. The company works with health plans and employers, including Aetna and Costco, to identify the individuals in an employee population that are at the highest risk for these complications and are the most likely to be helped by treatment. Then those patients are invited to an eight-week messaging program with a therapist and health coach that can be carried out either online or on the telephone. AbilTo offers 16 different programs. 

The company will use the new funding to accelerate the deployment of their platform, especially focusing on patient engagement, care delivery and infrastructure. This round of funding will bring AbilTo's total investment to $21 million, adding to a $3 million round from .406 Ventures in May 2013 and a $6 million round, led by BCBS and Sandbox, last March.

“One in four heart patients will leave the hospital with untreated depression,” CEO Michael Laskoff told MobiHealthNews last year. “Left untreated, they will cost twice as much to care for on an annual basis. So we came up with a very simple notion and started partnering with Aetna saying, if we can identify these patients, find those people who have both the greatest need and the greatest propensity for change, engage them remotely — which means that we can provide service to anyone, anywhere — and then actually quantify their improvement in terms of behavioral health, medical health, and financial savings, that would seem to be pretty interesting.”

In February, AbilTo's cardiac platform was written up in a study in the American Journal of Managed Care. The 281-person study found that program participants had 31 percent as many hospital admissions at a six-month follow up and 48 percent as many days in hospital. Cost savings for the 201 patients in the intervention group were estimated over $800,000.