Legion Health Gets $2M to Expand Access to Mental Health Care
The Covid-19 pandemic created an overwhelming demand for mental health services that therapists, psychiatrists and health providers could not keep up with. Mental health startups have since multiplied, and venture funding for those companies grew 139 percent last year to $5.5 billion, according to CB Insights.
But those startups and other mental health organizations have still struggled to meet the high demand for mental health services, according to Yash Patel, a former health care analyst at the Congressional Budget Office.
Patel and two of his roommates from Princeton University, Daniel Wilson and Arthur MacWaters, have launched Legion Health, a B2B mental health marketplace that allows digital health companies to hire mental health professionals on a freelance and hourly basis.
The Austin-based startup announced today that it has raised $2 million in seed funding, including $125,000 from startup accelerator Y Combinator.
When researching the mental health space, Patel found that many new digital health companies were struggling to recruit, manage and load-balance their workforce of mental health professionals.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates the U.S. will have a shortage of more than 236,000 mental health professionals by 2025.
At the same time, Patel told Built In that the 800 mental health professionals on the Legion Health network have expressed a willingness to work between 20 to 30 hours per week on top of their part-time or full-time jobs.
“That’s a significant amount of supply that is currently latent,” Patel said.
Legion Health has built its clinician network to more than 800 mental health professionals across all 50 states. The health care company schedules patient appointments against the clinician’s calendar, using Legion Health’s white-labeled technology as a conduit.
“We’re not just a smarter staffing company,” Wilson said in a statement. “We’re using technology to solve a hard logistics problem.”
With the seed funding, Legion Health hopes to expand its network of mental health organizations and clinicians while also building upon the features and user experience of its product. The startup has nine employees and is currently hiring engineers.
The strategic angel investors who joined the seed round include Erica Johnson, co-founder of Modern Health; Ravi Shah, chief innovation officer of Columbia Psychiatry; Jeffrey Leerink, CEO of SVB Leerink; Robert Musslewhite, president of Definitive Healthcare; and Jay Desai, former CEO and founder of PatientPing. Other investors include San Francisco-based technology accelerator Y Combinator, UpHonest Capital, and Soma Capital.