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Mental-Health Startup Cerebral Nabs $1.2 Billion Valuation

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(Bloomberg) -- Cerebral Inc., a startup that provides counseling, medication and other mental-health services, has more than quintupled its valuation to $1.23 billion.

The San Francisco-based company raised $127 million in a round led by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, Chief Executive Officer Kyle Robertson said in an interview. Nami Park, an adviser to Access, has joined Cerebral’s board.

New capital will be used to expand services to include group therapy and couples counseling, and to add treatment for PTSD, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, phobias, obesity and diabetes. The company currently treats anxiety, depression, insomnia and ADHD, among other ailments.

Launched in January 2020, Cerebral operates a mobile app and offers monthly subscriptions. It has partnered with insurers such as Cigna Corp. and Anthem Inc. and hopes to be an in-network resource for all insured Americans by the end of 2023. The company has about 1,900 contract and full-time employees, most of whom are clinicians.

“We launched at an opportune time to address a large societal problem that was exacerbated by the pandemic,” Robertson said in an interview. He described Cerebral’s ambitions of becoming a “one-stop-shop” that addresses the high cost, long wait times and stigma of traditional mental-health care.

Robertson said the company aims to schedule patient consultations as soon as 10 minutes or within two days, at the most, of signing up. That compares with a wait of as long as three months for an in-person psychiatrist visit elsewhere, he said. Cerebral clinicians work about 25 hours a week on average, and the company has seen more than 100,000 patients.

“We’re barely scratching the surface, with 60 million Americans in therapy and 45 million taking an anti-depressant,” he said. He expects Cerebral to explore launching in new countries and bolster its work with employers.

Also participating in the funding round were Silver Lake Waterman, Artis Ventures, Bill Ackman and Chris Burch. Cerebral’s existing investors including Oak HC/FT, WestCap, AirAngels, and Liquid 2 Ventures also participated.

Another digital mental-health company, Talkspace, agreed in January to go public through a SPAC merger. Other startups including Ginger and Geode Health have raised capital from Blackstone Group Inc. and KKR & Co., respectively.

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