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Telepsychiatry health staffing startup raises $40M

Illustration of a silhouette of a physician with a pill-shaped brain.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Iris Telehealth, an Austin-based telepsychiatry company that matches providers to health systems and clinics, raised $40 million in Series B funding.

Why it matters: Behavioral health is a hot spot for digital health investing, and Iris is the latest company in the sector to collect significant capital.

Details: Concord Health Partners and Columbia Pacific Advisors led the round, which is Iris' first public fundraise since it was founded in 2013.

  • The new funds bring Iris' total funding to $43 million, following a $3 million Series A it collected in 2017, Iris CEO Andrew Flanagan tells Axios.

How it works: Iris matches its board-certified psychiatrists with health systems and community health centers based on scheduling preferences, long-term goals and practice philosophy.

  • Those providers work with patients to identify issues, develop treatment plans and prescribe medications.
  • The company currently works with nearly 200 health systems and community health centers, and expects to see its 2 millionth patient within the next year, Flanagan says.
  • Iris' model is similar to that of InnovaTel, which offers its services to community health centers. (Quartet Health acquired InnovaTel last year.)
  • "We’re a group of technologists surrounding this super-focused medical group," says Flanagan.

Context: In contrast with Iris, many behavioral health companies court employers and organizations or offer their services directly to consumers.

  • Paraclete, for example, works with organizations that offer services for mild or acute issues such as stress, anxiety, or the loss of a loved one.
  • Brightside Health, on the other hand, works with organizations and individuals to treat more severe or chronic conditions, such as major depression.

What's next: With the funds, Iris plans to grow its clinical operations team, scale its go-to-market strategy, further develop its technology and grow the length of its contracts, which currently average 4 years, according to Flanagan.

  • "The biggest challenge is to not let the frothiness of the market change who we are," Flanagan adds.
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