San Francisco-based startup Ginger, a provider of on-demand mental healthcare services, has raised US$ 50M in a Series D funding round held in August 2020, co-led by Advance Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, along with participation from Cigna Ventures and previous investors such as Jeff Weiner(Executive chairman of LinkedIn) and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.
Proceeds from the funding round will be used to build alliances with companies like Cigna, an investor in the company’s latest US$ 50M round. It will also expand its on-demand mental healthcare services. The startup is also investing in automation and natural language processing to computerize care pathways and customizing patient care using machine learning.
About the startup
Through Ginger, patients have access to a care manager who provides therapy, psychiatry and health coaching. These managers are qualified behavioral health coaches, typically people with a master’s degree in psychology with a behavioral health coaching certificate from schools like Duke, UCLA, Michigan, or Columbia and 200 hours of training provided by Ginger itself. For those in need of additional support, psychiatrists or therapists can be added to their care team.
Ginger was founded in 2011 by a team of entrepreneurs and data scientists at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab namely, Alex Pentland, Karan Singh, Anmol Madan and Ryan O’Toole. The Ginger App is available on iOS and Android where users can connect with mental health specialists at any time, anywhere, 365 days a year.
It was in 2016 that Ginger began offering its care services and has almost 10k active users on its platform currently. More than 200 corporations, including Delta Air Lines, Sanofi, Chegg, Domino’s, SurveyMonkey and Sephora, pay Ginger to cost-effectively provide their employees with high-quality mental healthcare. These employees can be a part of virtual therapy and psychiatry sessions as an in-network benefit through the company’s associations with leading regional and national health plans, including Optum Behavioral Health, Anthem California and Aetna Resources for Living. They charge companies a fee for access to its services on a per-employee, per-month basis.
Comments and future plans
CEO Russell Glass said, “Our entire mission here is to break the supply/demand imbalance and provide far more care. Ultimately we want Ginger to be available to help anybody who has a need.” The company has recorded the greatest demand for mental health support during the current pandemic. During July, weekly users were 125% higher for coaching and 265% higher for therapy and psychiatry when compared to pre-COVID-19 figures.
The startup’s future plans include expanding into teenage care and to provide mental health care in multiple languages.
The World Economic Forum has recognized Ginger’s AI technology as a Technology Pioneer, and the company was named as one of the top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare by Fast Company.
The startup has raised over US$ 120.7M in funding (including the recent round) in the last 9 years from investors such as WP Global Partners, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Romulus Capital, True Ventures to name a few.
Pipette, a healthcare focused startup preventing unplanned readmissions after surgeries by monitoring the patient’s health via their mobile phones was acquired by Ginger in March 2012.
Ginger had acquired LiveBetter, a company that offers free mental health and wellness support to anyone through a highly engaging, conversational app in March 2020.