Mental health provider SonderMind buys Mindstrong's tech assets

Mental health provider SonderMind bought struggling startup Mindstrong's technology and will bring on board some of its tech team, the company announced Wednesday.

The Denver-based therapist matchmaking platform focuses on providing high-quality talk therapy and psychiatric care and said the deal will add Mindstrong's technology custom-built for mental health care. The addition of Mindstrong's tech will enable the company to deliver "personalized care journeys, clinical note templates, and enhanced measurement-based care to improve the clinician experience," executives said in a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mark Frank, CEO and co-founder of SonderMind, said the addition of Mindstrong's technology will help improve clinician care and treatment decisions. "What we're trying to accomplish is really improving outcomes. [Mindstrong] has done a tremendous job, from a technology standpoint, in creating a solution for clinicians to be able to deliver more personalized care. That fits in really well with the kind of components that we created to ultimately build a comprehensive solution that can really change and hopefully revolutionize the status quo," Frank said in an interview.

Technology has a critical role to play in improving mental health care delivery and outcomes, but not on its own,” he noted.

Mindstrong launched in 2014 with a focus on diagnosing and treating mental health conditions through the power of artificial intelligence and smartphones. The company applied AI and passive sensors to track mental health symptoms. Mindstrong then shifted to providing app-based mental health care.

The company was named one of Fierce Medtech's Fierce 15 in 2018.

The addition of Mindstrong's technology will equip clinicians with the clinical capabilities they need—such as tailored care pathways and enhanced measurement-based care—using technology and data to strengthen their ability to deliver high-quality care that helps individuals get better, faster, he noted.

Through the deal, SonderMind also gains Mindstrong's tech capabilities—such as specialized care journeys and intelligent notes functions—to help treat those with serious mental illness, the company said.

"One thing Mindstrong did very well was build a lot of custom notes, kind of a digital electronic health record functionality, that was specifically built for mental health providers. It was built with the aim of having a data science structure in place. When we pull those things apart, we say, 'OK, what are the parts and pieces that we can utilize?' It lets us combine that with our core offering of high-quality, very accessible care from our large group of providers," Frank said.

And SonderMind picks up a technology team experienced in building and enhancing custom technology to leverage artificial intelligence and data science.

The deal also builds on SonderMind's acquisition of neuroscience company Total Brain to build out its data-driven mental health care services. "When you put all those things together, it really is a differentiated experience. It enables the delivery of care to be measured and we can truly track what's working and what's not and then feed that information back to the providers so that they can be more effective," Frank noted.

SonderMind also acquired predictive analytics company Qntfy in 2021. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mindstrong raised a $100 million series C round backed by big investors including General Catalyst, Arch Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, 8VC, Optum Ventures and What If Ventures, among other investors

The startup banked a total of $160 million from investors, according to Crunchbase.

The innovative company also attracted top leaders from companies like Google and Uber with expertise in neuroscience and computer science. Former director of the National Institute of Mental Health Tom Insel, M.D., is a co-founder and former president of the company.

Mindstrong was dedicated to transforming mental health care through innovations in digital measurement, data science, and virtual care models, SonderMind executives said. 

In February, several publications reported that Mindstrong was winding down its operations and planned to stop offering its patient care services by March 10. According to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice with California's Employment Development Department, the company is laying off 128 employees and closing its Menlo Park headquarters. 

SonderMind acknowledged that simultaneous to the acquisition of Mindstrong’s technology and tech team, the rest of the company terminated its operations. 

Stat reported Mindstrong faced significant pressure from investors to commercialize the technology too soon and struggled to regain its footing after the departure of key founders and other dramatic management shake-ups.

Frank noted that startups can make "tactical missteps" that can make it challenging to continue operating and support growth. "You might over-invest in certain points of the journey in various parts of technology or under-invest in other things. From our point of view, it's a unique opportunity for all of us together. There's a whole host of their tech product team that is now part of SonderMind to continue on that mission that they initially had, which was to fundamentally change how we can use data to inform and deliver better care," he said.

Launched in 2017, SonderMind developed a therapist matchmaking platform. The company's clinicians currently treat patients in 15 states and Washington, D.C., via virtual and in-person modalities. The mental health company starts users off with a questionnaire regarding their insurance, payment information, relevant health history and behavioral health-related questions in order to best match them with a provider.

The startup soared to unicorn status with a valuation “well north” of $1 billion in July 2021 after raising $150 million in its series C funding round. SonderMind has raised $183 million to date, backed by Drive Capital, Premji Invest, General Catalyst, F-Prime Capital, Founders Circle Capital and FCA Venture Partners, among others.