Virtual mental health company Iris Telehealth announced Thursday that it has raised $40 million to expand access to behavioral health services.
The Austin, Texas-based company said it plans to use the money to grow clinical operations, and commercial and technology teams, so it can help health systems and community health centers meet the mental health needs of patients.
Concord Health Partners and Columbia Pacific Advisors led the Series B funding round. Columbia was an initial investor in Iris Telehealth and has expanded its funding commitment to support the company’s growth.
“This funding will allow us to scale our clinical operations to meet the overwhelming demand we are seeing for behavioral healthcare services,” said Andy Flanagan, Iris’s CEO, in an email. “It will also enable us to expand our product and technology capabilities to help our customer partners manage patients across the continuum, ensuring the right patient is receiving the right care at the right time.”
Since the startup was founded in 2013, its core mission has been to deliver quality, sustainable behavioral healthcare so the organizations it partners with can better support the patients and communities who need it most, Flanagan said.
“That has been consistent over the previous nine years and will stay true going forward as well,” he said. “This funding will allow us to go deeper, and scale faster, in achieving this mission.”
Iris is now serving almost 200 hospitals and community health centers and will see its 2 millionth patient this year, he said.
Even as overall telehealth use has decreased since spiking at the outset of the pandemic, demand for behavioral telehealth has remained strong. Virtual teletherapy allows people to be seen in the comfort of their own homes, and provides an option for many who have limited in-person access to mental health professionals. Given that 77% of U.S. counties face a psychiatrist shortage, providing timely, quality care to patients with serious mental illness has never been more critical—or challenging, according to Iris.
“Unfortunately, the need for quality behavioral healthcare in this country surpasses the supply,” Flanagan said.
A number of virtual mental healthcare organizations are stepping in to try to fill that gap. That includes companies like PMC (Psychiatric Medical Care) and innovaTel that are also focused on reaching underserved communities.
For its part, Iris Telehealth has been able to rapidly expand its operations to provide critical mental health support for more patients, while maintaining profitability, according to its investors.
“We have seen Iris grow for many years and believe they are just getting started,” said Stan Baty, co-founder and managing partner of Columbia Pacific Advisors, in a statement. “We look forward to helping them scale to support more healthcare organizations and patients in need of quality behavioral healthcare.”
Photo credit: Olga Strelnikova, Getty Images