UPMC leads $17 million funding round for mental health startup Lantern

San Francisco company pledges to work with fledgling company to develop products, programs.
By Bernie Monegain
10:02 AM

Lantern, a San Francisco-based startup, with 17 employees, is working with UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of the Pittsburgh-based healthcare giant, to further develop the company’s online mental health wellness services and products.

The startup, founded in 2012, recently closed on a $17 million investment led by UPMC Enterprises on February 10. All other previous investors, including Mayfield Fund, SoftTech Venture Capital and Stanford University, joined the round.

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UPMC, one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in the country, is the ideal partner, Alejandro Foung, Lantern co-founder and CEO, said in a statement announcing the new funding.

"A large part of UPMC's appeal, Foung added, is its "focus on disease prevention – a sharp contrast to the fee-for-service model that currently dominates the behavioral health landscape."

"This is for us about a very long-term bid on how we can use technology to engage consumers and patients in their mental health, said Mark Stabingas, executive vice president at UPMC Enterprises.

"There’s an acute shortage of mental health professionals," he said. "There are lots of people who could benefit from mental health services."

UPMC clinicians will work with Lantern on two pilots aimed at expanding Lantern’s programs to address additional behavioral health issues and potentially to address populations of patients with more complex conditions, Stabingas said.

As taken as the UPMC team is with the products, the Lantern team has built to date, Stabingas said, "We are compelled first and foremost by the team. We are as much focused on the idea that we can partner with the team to build something really compelling for the long haul that has the opportunity to help millions and millions of patients."

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Among the companies, UPMC has backed is Evolent, a public company that offers a mix of consulting and technology. Its cloud-based IT, which includes population health and analytics tools, is built to help hospitals and health systems migrate from a fee-for-service system to value-based care.

Another behavioral health IT company recently in the news is Quartet, which is backed by Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy who serves on the board of the New York-based startup.

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