SF’s Ginger Raises $35M in Burgeoning Digital Therapeutics Market

Ginger, a San Francisco-based digital health startup developing software to help patients manage mental and behavioral health conditions, announced Wednesday it has raised $35 million from investors to offer its service to more people who experience stress, depression, and other conditions.

People can use Ginger’s mobile app to participate in virtual therapy sessions with behavioral health coaches. These sessions can be scheduled in advance or requested on the spot, the startup says.

“This latest round of funding accelerates our ability to expand high-quality care⁠—any time of day or night—to millions of people around the world,” Russell Glass, Ginger’s chief executive, says in a prepared statement.

Chicago-based WP Global Partners led the Series C round, Ginger says. Other participants included new investors City Light Capital and Nimble Ventures, as well as return backers Khosla Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, and Kapor Capital. Ginger says it has now raised about $63 million in outside financing.

Ginger says its users are able to start communicating with health professionals more quickly than they would by going the traditional route of scheduling an initial visit with a psychiatrist or therapist, which can require waiting weeks or even months for the appointment date.

The coaching and healthcare services Ginger provides span several formats. Users can exchange text messages with coaches using the app, and can also request therapy sessions conducted via videoconference.

The startup’s core business model involves forging agreements with employers, who offer Ginger’s services to their workers as part of employer-sponsored health plans. Its clients include Pinterest (NYSE: PINS), Sephora, and BuzzFeed, according to company materials.

Ginger says its customers currently offer the startup’s services to more than 200,000 employees across 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Japan, an the UK.

Ginger isn’t the only mental and behavioral health software startup that has been drawing investor interest recently. Competing services include Talkspace and Quartet, which are both based in New York. One market research firm, New York-based Reports and Data, estimated the digital therapeutics market may reach $980 million by 2026, up from $170 million last year.

Ginger launched in 2011 as a MIT spinout, and later changed its name (from Ginger.io) and moved its headquarters to California. Its current leadership team includes Glass and chief operating officer Karan Singh, one of Ginger’s four co-founders. The other co-founders are: Alex “Sandy” Pentland, an MIT professor whose current projects include the Cambrige, MA-based startup Cogito; Anmol Madan, who is chief data scientist at Livongo; and Ryan O’Toole, who has since moved onto other startups.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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