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'Natural consolidator' SonderMind buys Mindstrong assets

Mar 23, 2023

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Telemental health company SonderMind has acquired the assets of once-buzzy telemental health startup Mindstrong.

Why it's the BFD: SonderMind CEO Mark Frank billed the company as a "natural consolidator" to Axios last summer. Now the company is making good on that moniker.

Flashback: Frank said in August that SonderMind planned to build out specialized psychiatric programs and offer more data-driven care by buying up other companies.

Details: Denver-based SonderMind will hire about 20 of Mindstrong's employees. The remaining 100 will lose their jobs, including CEO Michelle Wagner, who will not have a role at SonderMind.

  • “This is sort of the final chapter for the Mindstrong care business," Wagner tells Modern Healthcare.
  • The acquisition comes after Mindstrong halted services and closed its Silicon Valley headquarters this month.

💭 Our thought bubble: Although Mindstrong's demise exemplifies the difficulties of starting a company in the crowded behavioral health sector, it could prove a boon for SonderMind, which has long had its sights on deepening its efforts in high-acuity mental illness.

Catch up quick: Mindstrong raised $160 million in venture capital, including a $100 million Series C round from high-flying backers including General Catalyst and Arch Venture Partners.

  • The business was co-founded and helmed for a time by Tom Insel, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • But after billing itself as a unique digital biomarker-tracking platform for brain disorders, the company pivoted multiple times throughout its history, eventually becoming yet another virtual therapy platform on an already crowded telemental health stage.

What they're saying: "Technology has a critical role to play in improving mental health care delivery and outcomes, but not on its own," Frank said in a statement.

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