Brightside sets aside $50 million in funding for mental wellness

Brightside Health, a virtual behavioral health startup, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by ACME Capital and Mousse Partners, Brightside CEO Brad Kittredge tells Axios exclusively.

Why is this important: The funds have been poured into behavioral health, and there are no signs of the flood abating, with Brightside the latest example.

Details: Brightside’s existing backers Bullpen Capital, Triventures and Trousdale Ventures also participated in the round, bringing Brightside’s total funding to $75 million.

The context: Founded in 2017, San Francisco-based Brightside was online before the pandemic highlighted a shortage of mental health tools — which initially presented challenges for its founders.

  • “When we started, a lot of investors were like, ‘Can you even do it online? Is it safe?'” Kittredge told Axios. “Now we are entering a new cycle where people are identifying niches and areas to consolidate.”

How it works: Brightside partners with payers and providers to offer its services on a reimbursable basis, as well as employers and individuals.

  • Individual memberships cost $95 per month for medication management or $249 for medication plus therapy.
  • After completing a questionnaire to assess their symptoms, users are matched with a provider who lays out a plan of care, including which medications might help.
  • The company says it uses a “precision prescribing approach” to match users with the right medication based on their medical history and specific symptom characteristics.

Rollback: Before starting Brightside, Kittredge worked at consumer-focused companies including Jawbone and 23andMe, where he says he “had a front row seat” in the clash between the hyper-growth mentality of Silicon Valley and the need to move slowly in healthcare, he told Axios.

  • “Fundamentally, we just don’t believe that sanity is a place to go fast and break things,” Kittredge says.

Between the lines: As many digital health sectors consolidate, industry watchers and investors continue to see promise in niche mental health solutions, where highly personalized support can be offered to specific populations. .

  • This even includes investors who once thought the digital health landscape would become too crowded, like Ambar Bhattacharyya, managing partner of Maverick Ventures.
  • Behavioral health is “such a deep category” that it leaves room for startups of different models, Bhattacharyya says. “There are so many companies, and they’ve all done so well, it’s pretty mind-blowing.”

State of play: Competition in the sector also puts an emphasis on results, leading investors to become more selective in the startups they back, Aike Ho, an ACME partner who led the investment in Axios, told Aike Ho. Brightside.

  • “Over the past five years, we’ve looked at just about every mental health company you can name,” Ho says, and “this is our only investment in the space.”