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Seattle startup Joon raises $6M to expand online mental health therapy for youth

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Joon Care CEO Emily Pesce (left) and cofounder and Chief Psychologist Amy Mezulis. (Joon Photo)

Teletherapy startup Joon Care raised $6 million from investors to extend the company’s runway as it grows its mental health software platform.

The Seattle startup serves patients 13- to 24-years old who need help with anxiety, depression, disordered eating, sexual and gender identity, academic problems, and other challenges.

Joon delivers therapy sessions online and provides digital mental health tools and resources to teens and young adults. It supports therapists with evidence-based care strategies and patient assessments to track progress.

“What’s great about our product is once kids get into it and they start to feel agency in a life where they’re getting whiplashed around, it feels great,” said CEO Emily Pesce. “They want to come back.”

Joon launched in 2019, spinning out of Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs (PSL). A year later it raised $3.5 million. The latest round includes funding from past investors PSL Ventures and Route 66 Ventures, as well as Pesce herself and other unnamed sources.

The fresh cash should provide enough funding for two to three years of operations, Pesce said. The company is not profitable.

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Example of an online therapy session via Joon Care. (Joon Photo)

Over the past year, Joon has added insurance plans for which it’s an in-network provider, bringing the total to eight insurers. It also launched a partnership with the City of Seattle to provide free care to clients who are referred to the startup through the city’s human services programs. And Joon became a care provider on the Valorant Health platform, a portal to digital healthcare for underserved communities.

Joon has created an approach to care that shows measurable success, according to internal research. While the company will keep working to improve its services, its focus now is on reaching the parents and guardians of the 1.6 million teens and young people that it estimates need mental health care. It’s boosting its marketing and pursuing additional partnerships to connect with clients.

Joon currently treats patients in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. It has more than 20 employees and nearly 100 therapists.

Despite the startup’s growth, raising venture capital was difficult amid a tightened investment market, said Pesce, a finalist for Startup CEO of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. The healthcare sector is particularly tough, she added, given general struggles right now for direct-to-consumer businesses, regulatory issues in medicine, and the lack of a model for acquisitions in teletherapy.

The team is thrilled with the cash infusion, Pesce said, but added that “this is not a victory lap.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do as a company and we’re nowhere near accomplishing what we desire to accomplish, which is to make this care far more accessible,” she said.

Source: Geek Wire

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