The thinking behind the merger-of-equals between on-demand mental health company, Ginger, and mindfulness and meditation company, Headspace, is revealed in this in-depth chat with Headspace CEO CeCe Morken and Ginger CEO Russell Glass. The combined entity will be known as Headspace Health, with CeCe as its President and Russell as its CEO, and we’re chatting with both of them about go-to-market, strategic direction, and whether or not the next stop is an IPO.
“Low-cost, quality mental healthcare” is where these two minds seem to meet – playing on both Ginger’s reputation for being among the lowest cost providers of on-demand coaching and mental health therapy for the employer market, and Headspace’s budget-friendly, tech-first approach to mental wellness education and training for the masses. This is a critical point of differentiation, especially on the clinical side, where the cost of therapy is oftentimes a barrier for access to it.
Headspace will be rolled out to Ginger’s enterprise clients immediately (playing what sounds like a preventative medicine / early-detection role), but what might be even more exciting are plans to integrate Ginger’s therapy and coaching services into the direct-to-consumer product that has made Headspace a household name.
Is this the move before the BIG MOVE into the public markets? How will the integration work on the data side? And, for you long-time health tech followers and lovers of the digital therapeutics space, I ask about V1 of the Headspace Health brand, which, you might remember, announced bold plans to build the first-ever FDA-approved mindfulness DTx. The new combined entity is not only taking the name – it might one-day get back into the development of mental health digital therapeutics.
Lots to hear in this one as this Headspace Health positions itself to win in both DTC and Enterprise markets, starting Day 1 with 100M lives and 2700 enterprise clients around the world.
The Teladoc Health-Livongo merger continues to expand Teladoc Health’s virtual care capabilities — this time in mental health. Dr. Julia Hoffman, Head of Mental Health Strategy for Teladoc Health, gives us the inside story on the launch of myStrength Complete, the souped-up, next-gen version of the digital mental health app that Livongo acquired in 2019 and integrated into its “AI-plus-AI whole person health” platform. So, what’s new now that all this is part of Teladoc? Think full-service mental health care, akin to what you might find in a digital mental health point solution, but with more providers… sitting on top of a gold-standard telehealth and remote monitoring infrastructure… and ready-to-move on an outsized opportunity for integration into Teladoc’s virtual primary care offering, Livongo for Diabetes, Livongo for Hypertension, and so on.
myStength Complete is now more than just a smart, cognitive behavioral therapy app; it’s the entry point into an entire mental health care continuum of services. Teladoc Health’s physicians stand ready for telehealth consults alongside a robust portfolio of coaching and self-service mental health care programs that are bolstered by the data-driven “health nudges” made famous by Livongo’s ever-improving AI-AI engine. Looking forward, the data integration strategy has a lot of potential to do a lot of good. Julia talks about how her team is already leveraging learnings from the Livongo products into a better intake process for members, helping them more quickly, easily, and accurately find the type of care they need. This is no small feat, especially when we find out that Teladoc Health consumer survey data shows that about 60% of people seeking mental health care say they have no idea where to start, or what their diagnosis would be. We get into all those survey findings (a little gold mine for those interested in consumer sentiment and digital mental health) and a full “under-the-hood” poking around of myStrength Complete in advance of its July roll-out to employers. This interview is one to watch now for the full details on how Teladoc Health is pushing further into virtual mental health care.
It’s another mega-round for a digital health chronic condition management startup, as Vida Health closes its $110M Series D – AND adds a pair of big-name insurers to their cap table. Vida’s Founder & CEO, Stephanie Tilenius, gets into the good news about the funding round, which was led by growth equity fund, General Atlantic, and brought managed care giant Centene (a Vida customer) and multinational insurer AXA into the mix.
Beyond the funding – and the extra “insurance side” endorsement it gives to the virtual chronic condition care space – what’s interesting about Vida now is how its “whole person” approach, which integrates physical health care and mental health care, is very much tilting to mental health these days.
While overall revenue has tripled since last year, Stephanie talks about how the 6000% year-over-year growth for her mental health services has played into that rise, and how the new funding will be used to further expand those offerings.
Does this mean we need to start naming Vida as a competitor to digital mental health companies like Ginger, Modern Health, and Talkspace? And, how does this impact their positioning among the field of other health tech chronic care co’s? For those who may have forgotten, Vida went out the gate with a platform that was designed to treat both the mental-and-physical aspects of chronic disease, while others like Omada and Livongo-now-Teladoc acquired-and-integrated behavioral health providers to augment their physical-first offerings and satisfy customer demands. Will it now prove easier for Vida to scale-up and scale-out, having been built for both “mind and body” from the very beginning? Stephanie’s got her opinion, big plans, and now a treasury to rival those key competitors across both fields of care. Tune in for all the details!
Cigna is making digital mental health services available to its entire nationwide network of 14 million members, and it’s selected health tech startup, Ginger to deliver the new benefit. Cigna’s Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health, Doug Nemecek, and Ginger’s CEO, Russ Glass, stop by to discuss the deal and why Cigna is making such a commitment to expanding its behavioral health offering.
This is about more than just dealing with mental health in the aftermath of Covid; Cigna is actually looking at Ginger’s behavioral health coaching model as preventative. Will other health plans follow suit? Could expanded coverage for lower-acuity mental health services become commonplace? Doug talks about what’s ahead for mental health care from a population health standpoint, and how services like Ginger’s give primary care docs a standard, trusted provider to which they can refer patients when it comes to increasingly common concerns like depression and anxiety. For Russ and Ginger, who talk about using virtual care to right the “supply-and-demand imbalance” in mental health care, what will more than doubling their current client base (from 10 million to 24 million) do to their own ability to provide supply? It’s a moment-of-truth for the business of digital mental health and we’ve got the details!
Digital Mental Health startups continue to scale up — in customers, revenues, and investments — as the covid19 pandemic wears on. One of these companies, Ginger, has tripled its revenue this past year, expanded its client base to count more than 200 health plans and self-insured employers, and, for good measure, just added a fresh $50M Series D to their coffers. How much more money can investors put into digital mental health startups? Are things “frothy” in this space, or is investment just “catching up” to meet a latent demand that’s just really been brought to light? And, what is one of this category’s leaders planning to do now that they’re extra flush with cash? (Don’t forget, they’re sitting on a $35M round that closed late 2019…)
Ginger’s co-founder & COO Karan Singh and CEO Russell Glass join us to weigh in on the mental healthcare market’s state-of-play, including the buzz around their own business as both a potential acquisition target and a potential acquirer of additional behavioral health tech. We cover everything from investment to healthcare incumbent’s recent cries for more clinical validation, but my favorite part of this whole interview is when we start talking about the competition and tackle Lyra Health’s recent $100M raise and $1.1B valuation. Tune in around the 15:55-minute mark for some very DETAILED competitive analysis about Lyra-versus-Ginger from Ginger’s own CEO.
As this market gets more crowded, competition heats up, and healthcare consumers receive the benefit of more solutions to access at lower prices, Karan and Russ also help me speculate on what’s ahead, including whether or not they think we’ll see a “digital mental health equivalent” of a massive game-changing-market-moving deal like we saw when Teladoc merged with Livongo to shake up of both the virtual care and chronic condition management spaces.
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