Our Investment in Meru Health
by Jaclyn Hester
We are pleased to announce our investment in Meru Health. We led the Series A financing alongside our partner fund, Freestyle, who led the company’s previous financing. We were joined by Bold Capital Partners and Slack Fund, and existing investor, Y Combinator, among others. Based in Helsinki, Finland, and San Mateo, California, Meru offers a complete and clinically proven treatment program for depression, anxiety, and burnout with long-lasting outcomes.
We’re excited to welcome Meru to the Foundry family, not only as a portfolio company but also as a resource. In addition to investing, we are providing the Meru program for free to Foundry’s portfolio company CEOs, similar to what Freestyle did for their portfolio CEOs in January.
In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that over 25 million people suffer from anxiety and/or depression. Globally, over 500 million people suffer from these disorders. This global mental health crisis has been exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the world’s healthcare system and economy, with less than half of those suffering receiving the care they need. Healthcare payers are finally starting to pay attention, especially in light of increased scrutiny and litigation over insufficient coverage for mental healthcare.
Meru is revolutionizing mental healthcare with the goal of bringing accessible, effective, outcome-driven treatment to the masses. They’ve partnered with insurance companies and self-insured employers such as Aurora Public Schools, John Muir Medical Corporation, and Douglas County in Colorado to offer the Meru program to their customers and employees.
The company was co-founded by Kristian Ranta (CEO), Albert Nazander (CTO), and Riku Lindholm (COO). Having lost friends and family members to depression, the founding team launched Meru to fight mental illness by creating an effective and scalable solution. Their mission is to empower 10 million people suffering from mental health challenges by 2027.
Meru is building an easily-accessible online solution that provides patients with remote therapists and psychiatrists, anonymous peer-groups, biofeedback wearable, and a 12-week digital therapeutic treatment program. Meru’s program consists of continuous remote clinician support, at-home therapeutic lessons and practices (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and mindfulness), as well as sleep medicine and nutritional psychiatry for a complete solution to healing depression and anxiety. They’ve recently published groundbreaking peer-reviewed clinical results with Harvard Medical School and Rutgers University researchers, showing symptom reduction rates that are 2-3x stronger than what is typically seen with the current standard of care. Meru is currently seeing about a 90% treatment completion rate and average weekly engagement of five days/week, which is far ahead of typical behavioral health treatments.
We met the Meru team through our partners at Freestyle and the company fits in our Distribution theme. We care deeply about mental health and believe Meru is well-positioned to take on the huge opportunity and responsibility of combating mental health worldwide.