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Exclusive: Limbic nets $14M for AI mental health triage

Illustration of a man in profile with a phone over the top half of his head revealing a view of his brain.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Khosla Ventures led a $14 million Series A round in mental health triage and support startup Limbic, CEO Ross Harper tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: With national psychiatrist shortages predicted to worsen, venture backers are flocking to tools that promise to bolster provider efficiency.

Zoom in: New investors Gaingels and Illusian participated in the round.

  • Funds will be used to make Limbic's clinical mental health AI available to U.S. providers.
  • Harper declined to say when he sees Limbic raising a Series B.

How it works: New York City- and London-based Limbic offers clinically-based AI support tools originally developed for the U.K.'s National Health Service. Those tools include:

  • AI-powered self-referrals to verify patients' eligibility and identify primary symptoms while integrating with providers' existing tools.
  • A therapy companion to engage patients between sessions with chat-based interventions that providers can edit and personalize.
  • The company operates strictly as a B2B, enterprise-focused provider-enablement tool.

The fine print: A Limbic-sponsored study published in JMIR AI in 2023 found Limbic's tools shortened the time spent on mental health assessments, suggesting a boost in mental health providers' clinical efficiency.

  • And another Limbic-sponsored study published this February in the journal Nature associated the company's self-referral tools with higher referral rates among underrepresented groups.

What they're saying: "We are not a wellness solution. And that differentiates us in this market," says Harper.

  • "Limbic is a clinical tool used in clinical settings, and the evidence base required in order to be safe and reputable in this space is entirely different," he adds.
  • Khosla Ventures partner Adina Tecklu sees the company solving two problems: "One for the patient who needs access and another for the provider who wants to spend time with patients but is so backlogged they spend their first patient meeting doing a generic intake."

State of play: AI-powered behavioral health companies focused on patient triage and provider support have attracted a hefty amount of investor attention in recent months.

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