We’re delighted to announce our investment in Lyra Health, the leading provider of innovative mental health benefits for employers, led by David Ebersman.
These tumultuous last few months, and 2020 generally, have highlighted the dire need for widespread access to affordable mental health resources in light of widespread social unrest, macroeconomic uncertainty, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic related to unemployment, social distancing, and loneliness. In fact, the CDC reported in late June 2020 that 40% of adults are struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse. The prevalence and severity of such a mental health crisis certainly takes a toll, not only on individuals directly, but also on the communities in which they live and the businesses where they work. Stress alone is estimated to cost US businesses $300B/yr, a significant financial burden on top of the emotional costs associated with the amount of suffering and stigma related to the issue. As such, it is imperative we invest in solutions not only to treat those in need, but also to apply preventative measures to ensure this crisis does not continue.
Though some individuals can afford the ongoing cost of therapy and associated mental wellness tools, let alone find a provider that fits with their schedule and needs, most Americans do not have that luxury. Given the impact of mental health issues on workplace productivity (in addition to the more obvious personal and familial implications), the case has been made for companies to offer behavioral health solutions as a benefit, thereby improving the lives of their employees and their performance at work. Creating an environment that supports one another to live our best lives is an important component of the future of work.
As such, we are elated to welcome Lyra Health, the leading provider of innovative mental health benefits for employers, to the PLUS Collective. PLUS and members of our celebrity collective invested alongside an exceptional roster of investors including Addition, Venrock, Howard Schultz, IVP, Meritech, and Greylock.
At the highest level, Lyra is tackling the $280B behavioral health market by providing a digital platform connecting members to a curated network of top therapists and behavioral health tools, thereby allowing employers like Morgan Stanley, Starbucks, Genentech, Uber, eBay, and more to invest in a mentally healthy workforce. Lyra CEO David Ebersman, former CFO of both Genentech and Facebook, said it best:
“At a time when the need for better mental health care is surging, it is imperative that we invest in new solutions to tackle stigma, improve access and quality, and remove barriers to care.”
Since its launch in 2015, Lyra has quickly emerged as an industry leader for B2B mental health solutions and was recently named to Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020. Lyra now serves over 2 million employees and family members across its growing list of enterprise customers, and will use proceeds from this latest financing to continue scaling their customer base, invest in more tech-enabled treatment solutions, and expand and diversify its very high-quality provider base.
As PLUS continues to spend a significant amount of time in the health and wellness vertical, we’re focused on backing the operators and entrepreneurs behind innovative preventative and treatment products and solutions like Lyra. However, we’re also acutely aware of the need to destigmatize mental health in particular, given that harmful stereotypes often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out at all. Continuing to bring the conversation around depression, anxiety, addiction, and other common conditions into the public sphere is not only important, but also effective in inspiring people to seek treatment according to mental health experts. This is where the power of the PLUS artist and athlete collective comes into play. We’re thrilled that a number of our high-profile actors, artists, and athletes share our passion for this mission around destigmatization and more effective, accessible treatment, and thus have invested in Lyra as well. Our hope is that their affiliation with the Lyra brand, along with potential future marketing and business development support, will fuel the company with even more fire to continue tackling the behavioral health market with expanded and improved access to mental health solutions in the US and beyond.