PALO ALTO, Calif., April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Meru Health, a digital clinic for greater mental health, announced today that is has secured $4.2M in Series Seed financing from Freestyle Capital, Bonit Capital, Y Combinator, Lifeline Ventures and IT-Farm. Meru Health, a Y Combinator 2018 company and currently participating in the Texas Medical Center TMCx Accelerator in Houston, has developed a licensed-clinician-supported, mobile phone-based digital therapeutic program for depression and anxiety. This financing will support additional clinical validation and preparation for larger scale rollout to health systems and large employers in several states across the U.S.
"Having met with scores of mental health startups over the last year, it was Meru's full stack hybrid approach plus Kristian and his team's dedication that spurred Freestyle's decision to lead Meru's seed. The clinical validation from a large peer-reviewed study plus impressive execution with Fortune 100 companies sealed the deal and made us confident that Meru Health's solution will be attractive to employers and health plans and deliver for users. They've built a great solution, assembled an experienced team and engaged some of the most prestigious healthcare systems to test the technology. We are so excited to be working with Meru Health as they tackle one of the biggest health issues in the country," said Josh Felser, founder of Freestyle Capital.
Depression and anxiety are significant health issues in the U.S., affecting more than 25 million Americans annually. While depression is the leading cause of disability, and costs employers billions in lost productivity and healthcare costs, less than 50 percent of those affected have access to care. That's where Meru Health comes in. Its mental health Digital Clinic was developed to improve access to and compliance with mental health treatment.
Peer-reviewed data from a 117-patient clinical trial of the Meru Health intervention was published online in JMIR earlier this year. The researchers found significant reduction in depression symptoms as well as close to 80% program completion rate. The study also determined that higher number of days of practice significantly predicted lower residual depression symptoms, and greater group chat use predicted reduced depressive symptoms.
Meru Health is a quickly accessible digital clinic for greater mental health with remote therapists and psychiatrists, anonymous peer-group and a 12-week digital therapeutic treatment program. Meru's program consists of continuous remote clinician support, at-home therapeutic lessons and practices (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness) as well as sleep medicine and nutritional psychiatry for a complete solution to healing depression and anxiety.
Meru Health collaborates with employers, health systems and health plans with a unique outcomes-based business model. To date, the company has pilot programs ongoing with two Silicon Valley Fortune 100 companies. A clinical trial with Stanford and the Veteran's Administration is currently underway.
"All of us at Meru Health are excited to have Freestyle and the other esteemed investors join our seed round. This financing comes at a time of important company milestones and will enable us to continue on our growth trajectory," said Kristian Ranta, co-founder and CEO of Meru Health. "The publication of the results of a 117-person clinical trial of the Meru Health digital therapeutic program demonstrating high completion and compliance rates with significant reduction in depression provides important evidence points for our approach. We are currently running a clinical trial with Stanford and the Veteran's Administration and we are also in active discussions with several health plans and insurers."
"Although evidence-based treatments for depression exist, many people do not access them or wait several years before seeking treatment. Digital mental health interventions may help people with depression and other mental health conditions get treatment more easily. Our current study with Meru Health is testing their digital mental health intervention in middle aged and older adults with the hope to demonstrate whether individuals across the lifespan benefit from these interventions," said Christine Gould, PhD, ABPP, an investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System and an Instructor (affiliated) at Stanford University School of Medicine.
About Freestyle Capital:
Founded in 2009, Freestyle Capital is a San Francisco based boutique venture capital firm focused on early stage investments. Partners Josh Felser, David Samuel and Jenny Lefcourt are all serial founders using their real-world operational experience to provide hands on guidance to tech entrepreneurs. We invest in market leaders in all verticals - consumer, marketplaces, enterprise, SaaS, B2B and B2C companies. Previous investments include Airtable, Intercom, Patreon, BetterUp and Narvar. To learn more about us, please visit http://freestyle.vc/.
About Meru Health:
Meru Health is a digital clinic for greater mental health with remote clinicians (licensed therapists & psychiatrists), anonymous peer-group and a 12-week digital therapeutic treatment program. Meru's program consists of continuous remote clinician support, at-home therapeutic lessons and practices including cognitive behavioral therapy & mindfulness, as well as sleep and nutrition coaching. Meru Health is committed to evidence-based care and has published strong clinical outcomes in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Meru Health has offices in Palo Alto, California and Helsinki, Finland. For more information, visit: www.Meruhealth.com.