Lantern raises $17M Series A for mental health app

Ronny Kerr · February 10, 2016 · Short URL:

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center leads investment in San Francisco healthcare startup

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Lantern, provider of mobile and Web programs for mental health wellness, today announced it has raised a $17 million Series A funding round led by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) with participation from previous Lantern investors Mayfield Fund, SoftTech Venture Capital, and Stanford University.

UPMC, a private, nonprofit healthcare organization with a network of 20 hospitals and 3,500 physicians, chose to invest in Lantern for its “accessible, scalable, and cost-effective platform” for mental health wellness.

I walked through the "Customize your plan" process on the website just to get a feel for it, and found myself rapidly pulled into an easy, undaunting questionnaire around how I spend my days, how busy I feel, what I do to relax, the areas of my life where I see the biggest areas for growth, and so on.

Eventually, the program matched me up with a "Stress" track to help understand and reduce my stress using a couple different techniques, including "Cognitive Reframing" and "Mindfulness Practice," selected based on how I had responded to the questionnaire. Additionally, the program recommended that I do two 15-minute sessions per week for 20 weeks total. Finally, I got to see the face and bio for my suggested coach Megan, "a Certified Integrative Wellness Coach with a MA in Integrative Health Studies."

Lantern makes money by offering this program (and all others) through a $49 per month subscription plan, which comes with unlimited support (ability to message coach 24/7) and mobile skill-building sessions. The company also says you can get your money back if you're unsatisfied with the program.

In addition to its stress program, Lantern offers tracks focused on body and anxiety.

Besides the additional infusion of capital, Lantern sees an ally in UPMC since it isn’t just focused on remedies or treatments but also preventive ways of treating health.

“A large part of UPMC’s appeal to Lantern is its focus on disease prevention, a sharp contrast to the fee-for-service model that currently dominates the behavioral health landscape,” said Alejandro Foung, Lantern co-founder and CEO, in the press release for today’s announcement.

Lantern certainly isn’t the first Web service or mobile app to aim at treating mental health. Some sites, including and Virtual Therapy Connect, use remote video conferencing to easily connect therapists and patients. Then there’s the whole category of apps (both free and paid), including Big White Wall, Breathe2Relax, Moodscope, Happyhealthy, and WorkGuru, offering everything from mood trackers and tools to communities of people sharing experiences.

Either way, the sizable Series A for Lantern demonstrates another important step in the maturity of healthcare technology.

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