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2018 was on track to be record-breaking year for mental and wellness startups, after years of increased investment; from 2014 to 2017, the amount invested in mental and behavioral health startups rose 167 percent, while the number of deals went up 118 percent. At the same time, though, the space has also started to see consolidation, with a number of companies being acquired and folded into other services.
The latest to be scooped up is Joyable, a solution for overcoming social anxiety, which was bought by AbleTo, a provider of technology-enabled behavioral health care, it was announced on Wednesday.
No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, though CNBC has pegged the deal as being eight figures, so at least $10 million. It was revealed that Peter Shalek, co-founder and CEO of Joyable, will be joining the AbleTo executive team as the company's Chief Product Officer, where he will be leading product strategy and development across the combined companies.
Founded in 2014, Joyable is a digital therapy solution for employees, providing them with coaches who are trained to help them reach their goals, who they can reach by phone, text or email. The company describes what it offers as, "Therapy that’s grounded in science and available anytime, anywhere."
AbleTo, which was founded in 2008, has a network of more than 600 certified professionals who are able to deliver virtual care. By purchasing Joyable, the company says it will be able to integrate the company's personalized coaching system into the AbleTo platform, giving users a more holistic approach to dealing with their mental health issues.
"Joyable's clinically-focused, digital treatment program is the perfect complement for AbleTo's evidence-based virtual care," Trip Hofer, CEO of AbleTo, said in a statement. "Combining our strong programs and talented teams to create a more integrated approach to delivering behavioral health care will further expand access, drive a better experience for patients, and create more value for our clients."
The acquisition of Joyable, which has reached more than 500,000 people who are suffering from anxiety or depression, will also help AbleTo to reach "millions more people."
Joyable had raised over $10 million in venture capital, most recently an $8 million round in 2015. Investors include Thrive Capital, Harrison Metal and Andy Rachleff. AbleTo has raised over $46 million, including a $36.6 million round in 2017. Its investors include Optum Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, .406 Ventures, Sanbox Industries, HLM Venture Partners, Aetna and Horizon Healthcare Services.
Consolidation in the mental health space
Joyable is just the latest mental health startup to be acquired recently, as the mental health space, which has been expanding for the past few years, starts to consolidate.
In August of last year, digital health company Sharecare acquired Window Channel Network, a company that distributes relaxation and wellness videos. More than 30,000 hours of WCN’s content, including specialty channels with 225 titles and 400 hours of relaxation, spiritual, meditation, sleep and ambient video programming, became part of the Sharecare platform.
Another mental health app, Lantern, was bought last month by Spring Health, after ceasing operations this past July. The company signed a perpetual license deal to add Lantern's digital therapeutic technology to bolster its own behavioral health platform.
In January of this year, Livongo signed an agreement to acquire myStrength, a provider of digital behavioral health solutions.
VatorNews has reached out to Joyable and AbleTo for further comment on this acquisition. We will update this story if we learn more.
(Image source: ableto.com)
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Joyable aspires to free the world of anxiety and depression. Today, it is the leading online program for overcoming social anxiety, a treatable condition that affects more than 15 million Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 85 percent of sufferers are not receiving minimally adequate treatment, often because no local help is available or because this type of anxiety is a barrier to seeing a therapist in person. Joyable provides an effective and affordable online solution for overcoming social anxiety, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combined with expert coaching to ensure clients are supported and encouraged to achieve their goals. Learn more about Joyable or take our Social Anxiety Test at www.joyable.com.