Meru Health, a mental health startup with offices in Palo Alto, California, and Helsinki, Finland, has raised $4.2 million in funding. Investors included Freestyle Capital, Bonit Capital, Y Combinator, Lifeline Ventures and IT-Farm.
The company said it will use the financing to support additional clinical validation and to prepare to roll its offering out to health systems and large employers in several states.
Founded in 2015, Meru offers an app-based treatment program for individuals with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Here’s how it works: Meru’s treatment can be accessed through a provider referral or via a confidential online screening. After an initial phone conversation with a licensed therapist, the patient begins Meru’s 12-week program, which includes elements of mindfulness-based interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral activation.
Throughout the program, patients connect with a licensed therapist and also with an anonymous peer group. Outcomes are measured with clinical scales every two weeks and at the end of the program.
As part of its business model, Meru Health works with employers, health systems and health plans. It has pilot programs going on at two Silicon Valley Fortune 100 companies.
Earlier this year, information from a clinical trial involving 117 Finnish patients using the Meru approach was published in JMIR. And the company’s technology is currently part of a clinical trial with Stanford and VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
Meru was a Y Combinator company in 2018 and is currently taking part in the TMCx accelerator program.
Other healthcare startups are also seeking to tackle mental health, albeit in different ways.
One example is Blueprint, a Chicago-based company that recently secured a $1.3 million round of funding led by Hyde Park Angels and Lightbank.
Blueprint offers a mental health assessment platform for clinicians. A therapist can enroll patients, who can use the Blueprint mobile app to complete assessments between appointments. The clinician can use the Blueprint tool to track patient progress over time and leverage patient-specific insights to deliver measurement-based care. Additionally, the patient assessments are billable, so clinicians can be reimbursed for reviewing the completed ones.
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