Mindstrong scores $100M to monitor wellness via smartphone behaviors

The latest round brings the company's funding total to $160 million.
By Laura Lovett
03:26 pm
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This morning digital mental health platform Mindstrong scored a whopping $100 million in Series C funding. 

While Mindstrong has a history of solid funding rounds, this amount will more than double its total funding. In 2017 it got its first $14 million cash infusion. That was followed by a $15 million Series B funding round in June of 2018, which got a $31 million add-on in January of 2019, bringing the company’s total funding to just under $60 million before this news. 

The company was first founded in 2014, but it made a splash in 2017 when former NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel left his position at Verily to take on the role as president at Mindstrong. Insel is still involved in the company today in an advisory role. 

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WHAT THEY DO

The company has a multimodal approach to treating mental health. The company teams up with payer organizations to offer the service to members. Patients can tap into video messaging, video calls or phone conversations with providers. The Mindstrong team can also help patients coordinate care plans and medication management. 

The technology also has a digital biomarker component. This can track a patient’s smartphone behaviors. While the startup will not see what a patient is doing on their phone, it can monitor how a patient taps, scrolls and types. It can look for indicators of stress, depression or other mental health factors.

WHAT IT’S FOR 

The company plans to use the latest funds to scale its business. 

“People living with a serious mental illness will tell you that managing their symptoms isn’t one of those things that fit neatly into business hours or can be deferred because of COVID-19,” Daniel Graf, CEO of Mindstrong, said in a statement. “The combination of our technology and our in-house clinical team puts us in a position to unlock a unique solution that increases access to care and improves health outcomes.”

MARKET SNAPSHOT 

Digital therapy companies are plentiful, and many are very well funded. For example, Talkspace scored $50 million in Series D funding last May. Within the last two months, there has also been some action in the space, with Meru Health snagging $8.1 million in Series A funding and SilverCloud raising $16 million in Series C funding. 

While there are several talk therapy programs, Mindstrong differentiates itself with its biomarker feature. This idea of passive data collection is actually being studied around the U.S. 

Dr. John Torous, director of the digital psychiatry division at Beth Israel, is working on a tool with his lab called mindLamp, which includes patient data gathered from both active and passive data together, to improve care and patient-clinician conversations. 

Patients can also opt in to the passive tracking feature, which can collect data in regards to GPS, accelerometer, call logs and text logs. While the content of the texts and calls is not seen by a physician or researcher, the idea is that the overall use of the phone can give indications of mental well-being. This data is then combined with active survey data. 

ON THE RECORD 

“One in 5 adults experience mental illness, 1 in 25 experience serious mental illness, and the pandemic is making these numbers worse. Meanwhile, more than 60% of US counties don’t have a single practicing psychiatrist. Mindstrong’s approach is an idea whose time has come – its telemedicine and biomarker technology can help millions of people in need, while preventing expensive episodes and saving our health systems tens of billions of dollars,” Joe Lonsdale of 8VC, said in a statement. 

 

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