The bar for behavioral health startups just got higher


Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture-capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Happy Saturday!

After news broke that meditation app Headspace and on-demand mental health care platform Ginger were merging, we couldn’t resist hopping on the mics to do a bonus episode. And, because we were in the mood for hot takes, Natasha and Alex held the conversation on Twitter Spaces. The special guests we had on, who we’ll get to down below, did not disappoint.

It’s a quick show, but the tl;dr is that you want to listen if you’re curious why a meditation app would get into therapy, the precedent by Lyra Health and Calm, and how consolidation looks for the sector going forward.

Here’s who helped us understand and contextualize the news:

  • Lux Capital partner Deena Shakir (who is also coming to Disrupt, incidentally)
  • Chrissy Farr of OMERS Ventures (who you may also know as a former CNBC reporter in the health tech space)
  • 7WireVentures’ Alyssa Jaffee (who needs her own podcast because she was shining during the Spaces)

And, special shout out to Ginger CEO Russell Glass, who joined the Space but wasn’t able to come up on stage due to technical difficulties. Twitter Spaces are fun, but the platform is still a bit nascent so goofs can bedevil live production.

However, we managed to get some notes from him via email, so let’s take a quick look at those:

  • Glass said that he agreed with “what Chrissy Farr and others said about there simply not being enough therapists in the market today to meet the overwhelming demand,” adding that there’s “real global need today for what Headspace Health can offer — a scaled, comprehensive platform that can truly democratize mental healthcare.”
  • He also double-clicked on the discussion regarding future “meaningful market consolidation,” noting that he expects to see it “especially” happen in “areas that address higher acuity care for severe mental illness.”

Make sure you are following the podcast on Twitter so that you catch us when we go live. These are meant to be spontaneous pop-up shows, so your best bet is to turn on notifications to never miss our Spaces. OK that’s all. Thanks everyone!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.