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2021-12-10| FundingStartups

Mental Healthcare Startup Cerebral Valued at $4.8 Billion after $300 Million Softbank-led Series C

by Joy Lin
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Cerebral, a San Francisco-based startup providing virtual mental healthcare services, has raised $300 million in a Series C round led by Japanese investment giant Softbank. The cash infusion will expand and enhance Cerebral’s provision of online mental health services, the demand for which has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Series C is led by the Softbank Vision Fund 2, with participation from new and existing investors including Prysm Capital, Access Industries, WestCap Group, and ARTIS Ventures. The funding brings Cerebral’s fundraising tally to $462 million since its founding last January. 

The latest round also catapulted Cerebral’s valuation to $4.8 billion, up fourfold since its previous round of funding. This places it at the forefront of digital mental healthcare unicorn startups, a herd that includes Modern Health, Lyra Health, and Headspace Health (following the Headspace-Ginger merger). 

“Our rapid growth is a testament to the dedication that the Cerebral team has to our mission: to transform access to high-quality mental health care. We wish to build a world where anyone, regardless of their situation, can feel comfortable coming forward to get the mental health treatment they need and not be burdened by barriers like stigma, cost, and convenience,” said Kyle Robertson, founder and CEO of Cerebral, in a statement.  

The Cerebral Experience

 

Around half of the American population is affected by mental health issues, said Priya Saiprasad, Partner at Softbank Investment Advisers. The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic supercharged the demand for mental health services, as facilities and providers struggled to cope while waiting times for clinical appointments lengthened into months. 

To beat month-long wait times, Cerebral has employed over 2000 clinicians across all 50 states to offer 1:1 online meetings with patients. The virtual appointments cover emotional assessments, counselling and prescription of medication for a range of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and substance abuse. 

The company has partnered with insurers across the US, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Magellan, and Medicare, along with company employers, to make its services more accessible. 

In October, Cerebral introduced its nutrition offering in several US states, including Arizona, Michigan, and New York, expanding its mental health services to include physical wellbeing. The same month, the startup also recruited four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles as its new investor and Chief Impact Officer. 

The December rounding is expected to go into the expansion of Cerebral’s service offerings and outreach. The company has signalled its intent to expand beyond the US to other countries, and is also weighing M&A opportunities. 

Softbank’s Investments in Health Startups

 

Softbank is no stranger to backing healthcare-focused startups. In one of its more recent investments, Softbank’s second vision fund led the $219 million Series B for Elemy, an online pediatric behavioral health startup, propelling it to unicorn status. 

Barely a few days later, Softbank Vision Fund 2 surfaced again to lead Medicare Advantage insurance provider Devoted Health’s $1.15 billion Series D.

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