Why This Billion-Dollar Startup Entrepreneur Treats Investors Like Collaborators | Forbes

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As employers grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a reckoning taking place in human resources departments around the country: the need for better mental healthcare for employees. Around one in four U.S. adults suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition and depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Lyra Health, which provides mental health benefits for large employers, became the latest healthcare technology startup to hit unicorn status, following a $110 million Series D round.

The Burlingame, California-based company expects to hit more than $100 million in revenue by the end of the year, and the latest funding round brings its valuation to $1.1 billion, according to a company representative. Around 50 million people in the U.S. have a mental health condition, and the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating two of the most common: anxiety and depression. Lyra, which offers an easy-to-use digital platform to connect people with mental health providers, has around 1.5 million members so far, adding more than 800,000 people since the start of the pandemic.

Lyra cofounder and CEO David Ebersman says customers are looking to launch the platform right away, instead of waiting for the typical January 1 fiscal year cycle for health benefits. “Because of Covid, economic uncertainty, and conversations around racial injustice, people are really struggling even more, and it’s an important time to invest in a service that really will be there for their employees when they need it,” says Ebersman, who previously served as chief financial officer of Genentech and Facebook. Untreated mental health conditions can lead to lower productivity and morale that can affect the overall work environment.

The $110 million Series D raise comes on the heels of a $75 million Series C closed in March. Lee Fixel’s new venture firm Addition led the round and was joined by Adams Street Partners, along with existing investors, including former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Casdin Capital, Glynn Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Meritech Capital Partners, Providence Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Lyra also announced that Kerry Chandler, chief human resources office at the global entertainment and sports company Endeavor, would join the board of directors. Lyra has raised around $275 million to date.

Lyra is an alumnus of this year’s Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list and is the third company from the 2020 list to cross the $1 billion dollar valuation mark, along with AI-powered sales startup Gong and human resources software automation company Rippling.

Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katiejennings/2020/08/25/lyra-health-hits-11-billion-valuation-as-coronavirus-boosts-need-for-teletherapy/#62945db76938

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