SoftBank Vision Fund 2 Backs Cerebral at $4.8 Billion Valuation



Cerebral Inc., a startup that provides mental-health services, said its valuation roughly quadrupled to $4.8 billion after raising $300 million in an equity funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.


Prysm Capital, Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, WestCap Group and Artis Ventures also participated, Chief Executive Officer Kyle Robertson said in an interview.


“We’re growing incredibly rapidly because there’s so much unmet need,” Robertson said. “We’re not going to stop building and iterating until everybody has access to high-quality mental health care regardless of their economic or insurance status.”


Cerebral, which counts gymnastics champion Simone Biles as an investor and chief impact officer, has provided care to more than 200,000 patients since its January 2020 inception. It has more than 2,300 clinicians, roughly half of whom identify as people of color, which ensures cultural competence, Robertson said. Average wait times for “instant live” visits with clinicians dropped to 5.3 minutes earlier this year from 23 minutes in January.


Biles withdrew from the Olympics earlier this year to focus on her mental health. She’s acting as a spokesperson for Cerebral to remove the stigma associated with seeking mental health care, and raise the company’s profile among employers, potential users and payers such as health plan providers, Robertson said. “Her story resonates with tens of millions of Americans,” he said.


The company offers medication and therapy plans to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and bipolar disorder among other illnesses. Cerebral will launch care for other conditions including schizophrenia in 2022 as it seeks to become a “one-stop shop” for mental health care, and may consider mergers and acquisition opportunities, Robertson said.


Cerebral also plans to cater to sub-clinical patients who may be best served with self-guided tools including meditations and journaling, Robertson said. The startup will seek to launch in new European geographies, and to build on its momentum with so-called single-payer health care systems after winning a grant from the U.K.’s National Health Service. In the U.S., Cerebral works with Medicare, Aetna Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc., among other payers, and is available in-network to more than 80 million Americans, Robertson said.


Roughly half the American population is affected by mental health issues and cost, limited provider availability and fear of judgment present obstacles to obtaining treatment, SoftBank Investment Advisers partner Priya Sairprasad said in an emailed statement. “We believe that Cerebral is lowering the barriers to mental health care with an integrated platform combining therapy, counseling, and medication management for effective, long-term support,” said Sairprasad, who has joined Cerebral’s board.


Other mental health-focused startups, such as BetterUp, Spring Health and Lyra Health, have raised funding recently. Cerebral raised $127 million earlier this year at a $1.23 billion valuation.


This announcement was originally featured in Bloomberg here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-08/softbank-vision-fund-2-backs-cerebral-at-4-8-billion-valuation