Five mental health startups to watch

Five mental health startups to watch.

According to Forbes, over the past few years, venture funding for mental health has reached an all-time high. Investors poured $1.5 Billion into the industry in 2020 alone. There are no shortage of apps and companies creating innovative ways to make mental health care more affordable, accessible, and easier to use.

Feel is a great way to learn more about what triggers you throughout the day and provides resources to help you cope. It’s a great way to take control of your mental health, especially if you don’t feel that you need a more robust plan.

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Here are a few of our top picks for mental health startups to watch.

Meru Health

• Funding: $13.3M

• Founded: 2016

• Founders: Albert Nazander, Kristian Ranta, Riku Lindholm

Meru Health is an online healthcare provider that offers an evidence-based program proven to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout. They offer two treatment options, a 12- week program and a coaching program.

Meru Health’s 12-week Treatment program focuses on a different theme each week such as The Negativity Spiral, Self-Compassion, and Maintaining Life Balance. The program includes therapist and psychiatrist support, a biofeedback training device, anonymous peer support, meditation practices, and habit-changing activities for sleep, nutrition, and more.

Meru Health’s coaching program combines chat-based coaching and peer support, virtual workshops, and evidence-based digital content to reduce stress, increase resilience and promote emotional wellbeing.

Why we love it

Meru has been recognized by UCSF as the best mental health company, but what makes them stand out to us is the complete approach taken. From nutrition to psychiatrics to heart-rate monitoring, Meru takes the whole person into account in order to give them the best care possible.


• Funding: $16M

• Founded: 2019

• Founders: Ariela Safira

Real offers a range of independent and group mental health experiences via desktop, iOS, and an Android therapy platform. They integrate ongoing progress tracking, meaningful mental health programming, and on-demand therapy to help you meet your wellness goals.

Real members get access to a calendar of virtual and in-person events, featuring the therapy team and industry experts. There are also therapist-led roundtables that bring together members in intimate sessions revolving around a shared issue.

Seeking care with Real is highly interactive. After a questionnaire, each member chooses a Pathway. Pathways are on-demand, therapy experiences that focus on a specific topic. Each week, your therapy team will guide you through a recorded audio or video and introduce a new journal prompt. You can engage with the session whenever works best for you during the week.

Why we love it

Real shines in its community building. Sure, you could use Real in a vacuum, but joining the roundtables and events will allow you to meet others who are going through similar things and finding a community that is normalizing therapy. It feels like summer camp for mental health.

Lyra Health

• Funding: $675.1 M

• Founded: in 2015

• Founders: David Ebersman- former CFO of Facebook, and Dena Bravata

Lyra is a healthcare benefit offered in addition to a company’s healthcare package. The hope is that through better access to mental health care, employees will be able to combat burnout, be present more often, and maintain better overall health.

Lyra assess new members, tailoring recommendations to them based on symptoms, severity, and lifestyle. From there, members can book real-time appointments online for both in-person or live video sessions. Lyra mentions on their site that the average national wait time for a mental health appointment is 21 days. With their program, you can be seen the same day you make an appointment. They also have available sessions in the evening and on weekends to better fit your schedule.

In addition to appointments with mental health professionals, members will also learn and practice a range of coping skills offered by your provider. Members will also complete ongoing clinical assessments to better tailor treatment and to track and measure progress.

Why we love it

With burnout at an all-time high after COVID more companies are realizing the effect that mental health has on their employees. Statistics taken from Lyra’s site show that employees with mental health concerns accrue 4x higher medical costs, are 5x more likely to miss work, and are 2x more likely to be fired or quit than the average employee. Lyra is using employers to connect employees to better mental health care, a gap that had previously been unaddressed.

Ginger Health

• Funding: $220.7M

• Founded: 2011

• Founders: Anmol Madan, Karan Singh

Ginger wanted to reinvent mental health care by coupling data science and virtual delivery to provide immediate, personal support for anyone. The Ginger system takes a preventative approach to mental health, addressing issues before they evolve into greater challenges and providing support anywhere, at any time.

Ginger was founded in 2011 by a team of entrepreneurs and data scientists at the MIT Media Lab who sought to build the world’s first mental health technology platform. Through smartphone-based technology, the platform was designed to identify patterns of anxiety, stress and depression, and alert patients and their healthcare providers to deliver care.

As Ginger grew, the team realized the enormous potential to further improve mental health outcomes, evolving from selling its insights into healthcare providers, to becoming one. By combining high-quality human care with data science and augmented intelligence, the team at Ginger created an entirely new platform for the delivery of on-demand mental healthcare. Today, Ginger reaches millions of people around the world in 30 countries through its partnerships with employers and health plans.

Chat with a trained behavioral health coach within seconds or meet with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist via video within days. Either way, Ginger is all about providing member support as quickly as possible.

The behavioral health coaches are there for day-to-day support for life’s challenges. They can help manage anxiety or offer tips on getting better sleep. The best part is that the coaches are on-demand, available any day at any time through the app. According to their website, 76% of members have connected with a coach outside of normal business hours.

Why we love it

Ginger is heavy on the accessibility aspect that is so often missing from mental health options.

Feel by Sentio

• Funding: $6.3M

• Founded: 2015

• Founders: George Eleftheriou, Dr. Haris Tsirmpas

The Feel program combines their proprietary Feel Emotion Sensor that continuously detects and monitors your emotional state (think Fitbit, but for your mental health) with personalized coaching to help you improve your mental wellbeing.

The Feel Emotion Sensor is a wristband that monitors your physiological signals throughout the day and learns to recognize your emotional patterns. This way, you can learn more about what causes fluctuations in your emotions through the day. The Feel mobile app connects to your wristband and responds in real-time to changes in your emotional state by providing practical advice, tools, exercises, and resources. There are also online educational tools and resources that help you learn self-management skills to build resilience and long-term positive emotional habits. You can also connect with a Feel Provider, a dedicated mental health provider who will help create an action plans with you through 15-minute online sessions.

Why we love it

Feel is a great way to learn more about what triggers you throughout the day and provides resources to help you cope. It’s a great way to take control of your mental health, especially if you don’t feel that you need a more robust plan.

The need for accessible and destigmatized mental health care is only increasing. Luckily, there are a wide variety of startups who are rising to the challenge. Whether you need 24/7 availability to fit your schedule, a community to keep you motivated, fast and complete care, or a hands-on way to deal with stress, there is a startup that can help.