Lantern raises $17M for its mobile-based mental health coaching program

By Aditi Pai
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San Francisco-based Lantern, which offers web and mobile programs using cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and stress, raised $17 million, according to TechCrunch

The round was led by UPMC Enterprises, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s venture arm. Existing investors Mayfield and SoftTechVC also participated. This brings the company’s total funding to at least $20.8 million to date.

Lantern's offering, available on web and iOS, includes exercises that teach users techniques to build healthy habits as well as one-on-one messaging with a coach, who all have advanced wellness-related degrees and are trained in CBT. Currently, Lantern offers coaching to help people with stress, anxiety, and body image, but the company plans to add mood tracking. 

Lantern CEO Alejandro Foung told TechCrunch the company will use the funds from the recent investment, in part, to work with payers to integrate the program into health plans. The company also plans to expand its existing programs. For example, Lantern wants to create coaching programs for specific kinds of stress people may feel instead of just stress in general.

The company added its stress-focused program at the end of last year, in October. 

"The techniques that we would use for stress and anxiety are very, very similar, but how you approach those techniques and what the framing is to use them, is very different," Foung told MobiHealthNews at the time. "We actually use the same fundamental approach, but help with framing and give different examples in respect to what’s going on in their life -- you may not identify with anxiety, but you might identify with stress, so if I give you an anxiety program, but you don’t identify with anxiety, you’re probably not going to use it.”

Foung also said at the time that Lantern is in the middle of a four-year study, funded by a $4 million federally-funded mental health grant, that involves 40 colleges across the country including University of California Berkeley, Harvard, University of Chicago, and Stanford. Students can enroll in the study to use Lantern through their mental health or counseling center.