Short takes/wrapup: fundings for Talkiatry, Heyday Health, CipherHealth; Brightside Health now 50 states for Medicare Part B; Neurabody’s sensor based posture therapy; below the radar global layoffs at Medtronic

The funding spigot seems to be on, even up to a Series C.

Talkiatry closed a $130 million Series C for a total funding of $245 million. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from Perceptive Advisors. Debt financing was provided by Banc of California. Talkiatry’s offering in virtual behavioral or telemental health is psychiatrically-based with a national network of 300 psychiatrists performing to date over 1 million patient visits. Their differentiation is stronger outcomes and reduced utilization of higher levels of care. Their footprint is in health plans: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, and Humana, covering more than 70% of commercial lives in the US–but plans to expand to provider networks. Release, FierceHealthcare

Heyday Health‘s raise of $12.5 million was from Gradient Ventures (Google’s early stage fund), Lionbird, a large national payor, Great Oaks Capital, and Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven Clinic. Heyday’s technology provides 24/7 in-person’s home, telehealth, and phone visits for Medicare and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in Ohio and Kentucky. Each person is connected to a personalized care team comprised of a physician, a nurse practitioner, and a Health Ally that works with them to design and manage care plans. The funding will be used for geographic expansion into the Cincinnati/Dayton area in Southwest Ohio and the Louisville area in Kentucky. Release, FierceHealthcare

CipherHealth received an undisclosed capital investment from Atalaya Capital Management for growth and expansion. Cipher provides communication solutions for patient engagement such as secure texting, appointment setting, rounding, and patient feedback. Release 

Brightside Health, another telemental health provider that had its own $33 million Series C in April, announced that it has expanded its reach to Medicare Part B recipients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, making it the first and only telepsychiatry provider to do so. With this, they now have a total reach of 130 million covered lives. Older adults are an underserved market for mental health support, with 15% utilizing ERs for care, one in four recipients living with a mental illness, and those 65+ having the highest rate of suicidal ideation. Release

We don’t often hear of digital health coming out of Luxembourg, but startup Neurabody located there is combining sensor-based data with AI to address the causes of and therapy for lower back pain. The current Posture AI device is a smart posture estimation sensor and an optional posture correction ergonomic shirt that provides personalized feedback and advice on improving posture and reducing pain via a smartphone or tablet app. If the user begins to slouch, the sensor detects it and buzzes to remind the user to sit up straight. Future products in the next two years are a smart posture seat and smart lumbar support devices. Co-founder William Choi is a serial entrepreneur, an investor and founding member of BackJoy Orthotics, an Inc 500 Fastest Growing Company. Right now the app is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The shirts are listed at $149 but the sensor and chest strap are not listed for sale and the shirt purchase pages are not functional. The pages need some work (e.g. typos, ‘coming soon’ pages). Release

But layoffs are still with use, even for the powerful ‘giants’.

Med device giant Medtronic has been quietly proceeding with a global layoff. The only publications that have been on this are Mass Device, which initially was unable to receive confirmation but pursued, and the local Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The layoffs started in April and May, with posts from former employees on LinkedIn and on TheLayoff, which are coded in Medtronic-speak. The company confirmed earlier this month to the Strib that it was laying off staff but would not give details, from the number of employees affected to impacted business divisions or geographic locations.

At the end of 2023, Medtronic offered employees an early retirement program, usually a first sign of major layoffs. Then, at the start of 2024, Medtronic announced the closure of five manufacturing plants and six distribution centers as part of an effort to improve the company’s supply chain, but again refused to disclose where or when. Medtronic relocated to Dublin years ago but maintains an operational HQ near Minneapolis. 11,000 employees of 90,000 total work there, making Medtronic the world’s largest medical device company and still a major employer in Minnesota. None of the layoffs are showing up on state WARN sites either because they are below the thresholds or Medtronic is simply not filing, though states do not except foreign companies.

Did they really think that they could keep this on the QT and Strictly Hush-Hush in the age of social media and layoff trackers (apologies to James Ellroy)?

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