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Former Facebook CFO Ebersman Launches New Health Tech Startup Lyra Health

The goal is to use tech to help those with depression, anxiety and substance abuse issues.


David Ebersman, who took Facebook public as its CFO, is launching a new startup called Lyra Health, which will focus on helping people with a range of mental health issues.

The new behavioral health technology company, he said, is aimed at matching those with conditions like depression, anxiety or substance abuse with the right treatment. It will be based in Silicon Valley and backed initially by him and Venrock for an undisclosed amount of seed money.

Most patients suffering from these illnesses, said Ebersman, “are undiagnosed, untreated or treated with ineffective therapies.” The former Genentech exec said that few tech solutions have been used to solve what Ebersman describes as a fragmentation issue, to do things such as coordinate care, match people with the right doctors and track outcomes.

David Ebersman
David Ebersman

He said Lyra would focus on working with employers, health plans and providers to provide a variety of tools to patients rather than to create a consumer-type portal. That would include diagnostic tests to help people determine if they need care, for example, as well as software to manage the process.

When he left Facebook last year, Ebersman said that he was going to focus on the health care arena, and decided that poorly managed behavioral health disorders was an area ripe for disruption since it also resulted in high costs for both companies and individuals.

“The system that we have is terrible, works poorly and is frustrating to use; people who are sick suffer and there is a significant economic and productivity cost,” said Ebersman. “And, surprisingly, not much tech has been brought to bear to this problem that is a lonely and exhausting experience.”

He noted that most people involved with the company have had personal experiences with the system and want to fix it. “Everyone has someone who suffers from these disorders and has stumbled through trying to get help for themselves, family or friends,” he said. “We want to end that.”

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