Ginger CEO Russell Glass on VatorNews podcast

Steven Loeb · February 12, 2021 · Short URL:

Glass will be a speaker at Vator's Future of Mental and Behavioral virtual event on May 19

Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco interview Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger, an on-demand mental health company providing access to emotional support via coaching, therapy and psychiatry. They’ve raised roughly $120.7 million dollars, including a $50 million round in 2020.

(Glass will be speaking at our May 19 Future of Mental and Behavioral virtual event. We'll have top-level VCs and C-level executives from the leading mental and behavioral companies, such as Teladoc's BetterHelp, Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Kaiser Permanente, Bessemer Ventures and more)

For these digital health podcasts, our goal is to also understand these three high-level questions: How are we empowering the consumer? Are we creating productivity that also allows us to see overall economic costs go down? How is this advancement changing the role of the doctor?

In 2021 it’s finally okay to talk about our mental health and that’s why we’re excited to be sponsored by BetterHelp. But what IS therapy? It’s whatever you want it to be. Maybe you’re feeling insecure in relationships or at work, or not very motivated right now. Whatever you need, it’s time to stop being ashamed of normal human struggles and start feeling better. Because you deserve to be happy. BetterHelp is customized online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions. Plus, it’s more affordable than in-person therapy but just as effective. See if it’s for you.

This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp and VatorNews listeners get 10% off their first month at This is podcast is also brought by Octave, your partner for mental health and emotional well-being. Learn more at

Highlights from the interview:

  • When someone first comes to Ginger they start interacting with a coach. Those chats are monitored with natural language processing to determine the person's needs and the best actions to predict what will be most effective for them going forward, be it sticking with the coach or seeing a psychiatrist for more serious cases.
  • Prior to the pandemic about 90 percent of users had mild to moderate symptoms and stayed with the coach. During the pandemic, it's become closer to 84 percent sticking with coaching only and 15 percent are escalating to higher levels of care.
  • There are hundreds of coaches and psychiatrists on the platform, a quarter to a third of which are coaches. The technology allows Ginger to be efficient by allowing them to provide more care than would be otherwise possible. Therapists and psychiatrists also require state-by-state licensure, so you have to have more of them because of those licensing requirements, whereas coaches can operate across state lines. 
  • Ginger has shown 70 percent symptom response in depression results and, on average, about 59 percent improve in anxiety results. 
  • Among small to medium businesses, which is 3,000 employees or less, the average sign up rate is around 25 percent percent of employees. For enterprise businesses, which is 3,000 to 20,000 employees, it's around 15 percent. Among national employers, which have upwards of 25,000 employees, the sign up rate is in the high single digits.
  • Ginger's mission is to fix the supply/demand imbalance, and to create a world where mental health is not an obstacle for people. The company started in the corporate world, it is now moving into health plans, which will be a big focus area this year, including its first Medicaid plan. The goal to continue expand into larger payers as it continues to take costs out of care and improve navigation capabilities within the ecosystem, and improve the quality of care, so it can support more people.

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Ginger was founded in 2011 by a team of entrepreneurs and data scientists at the MIT Media Lab who sought to build the world’s first mental health technology platform. Through smartphone-based technology, the platform was designed to identify patterns of anxiety, stress and depression, and alert patients and their healthcare providers to deliver care.
For co-founder and COO, Karan Singh, this journey had deep personal ties. After learning of a loved one’s suicide attempt, Singh committed to reinventing the way mental healthcare is delivered around the world.
As Ginger grew, the team realized the enormous potential to further improve mental health outcomes, evolving from selling its insights into healthcare providers, to becoming one. By combining high-quality, human care with data science and augmented intelligence, the team at Ginger created an entirely new platform for the delivery of mental healthcare, on-demand. Today, Ginger reaches millions of people around the world in 30 countries through its partnerships with employers and health plans.

Russell Glass

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