New digital mental health startup Hurdle lands $5M to focus on caring for Black communities

406 Ventures and Seae Ventures led the round with participation from F-Prime.
By Laura Lovett
03:07 pm
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Digital mental health startup Hurdle, previously Henry Health, scored $5 million in seed funding today for its platform that focuses on culturally competent therapy. The latest round was led by 406 Ventures and Seae Ventures, with participation from F-Prime.

WHAT IT DOES

The company pitches itself as a virtual mental health provider that specializes in culturally competent care. Patients can complete a registration form online and then get matched with a therapist, use an online portal where they can connect to care, and then have therapy sessions from their device.  

“Through our platform, we provide culturally intentional teletherapy,” Kevin Dedner, CEO of Hurdle, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. The most important thing that we do differently is ... train our therapists in an evidence-based technique that helps them develop more cultural responsiveness and humility. Additionally, our platform provides access to culturally appropriate meditations and daily motivational messages. These are tools that have proven to help support people in managing their mental health.”

Patients are able to tap into wellness workshops and self-care app support. Currently the team is focusing its efforts on providing care to the Black community.

“We have found ourselves at an incredibly challenging time. We are seeing a growing need for mental health services for black people and other minorities,” Dedner said.

“The last several months, the pandemic, the death of George Floyd, and the social unrest which followed have highlighted this need; Black people happen to be the population with the largest increase in treatment-seeking behavior. Even before the pandemic and George Floyd’s death, Black adults were 20% more likely to experience mental health challenges but less likely to access care than the general population. These data can be daunting.”

WHAT IT’S FOR

The latest infusion of cash is expected to help the company grow its team and develop its products.

“I am pleased that our company is positioned to meet the needs of this moment,” Dedner said. “The funding comes at an opportune time, a time when the market is clearly saying to us, there is an unmet need. We will use the funding to build out our team and advance our platform.”

THE LARGER TREND

Teletherapy has been on the rise. Investors have taken notice, and large sums are pouring into the space. In fact, Rock Health reports that, in the first half of 2020, digital mental health companies raised a whopping $588 million.

However, worldwide access to mental health can often have several barriers. According to a WISH report called "The Digital Mental Health Revolution: Transforming Care Through Innovation and Scale-up" some factors limiting adoption are efficacy results, infrastructure and lack of cultural competency.

In December, digital mental health and wellness platform Modern Health landed $51 million in Series C funding led by Battery Ventures.

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