BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Digital health startup Marigold Health, www.marigoldhealth.com, today announced $6m in seed funding led by KdT Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Marigold’s virtual program specializes in using peers, trained individuals in recovery from a substance use or mental health condition, to support others on a similar journey. Marigold’s novel technology innovates on traditional one-on-one peer coaching by giving patients 24/7 access to support from each other through text-based group chats.
This funding follows years of research to design and validate their recovery-supportive social network as a component of treatment. Marigold designed and patented novel natural language processing (NLP) technology to aid peers to moderate their online community. A Phase I study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of 50 patients receiving treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) saw broad uptake of and strong retention on the Marigold app; 64% of participants used the app daily throughout the 2-month study period1.
Last year, drug overdose deaths in the United States topped 100,000 for the first time. Behind each death is a struggle with a chronic condition – the average patient inconsistently receives treatment for 9 years before seeing a single year of recovery. While recent efforts have begun to increase the availability of highly effective outpatient care such as Medication-Assisted Treatment, the vast majority of the 20m Americans with an SUD are not currently in care. Research has found that peer support can serve as a nonjudgmental, low-barrier means for patients to seek help, eventually leading to increased engagement in other forms of treatment.
Marigold’s results have prompted adoption by health insurers. Since AmeriHealth Caritas DE (ACDE), a health plan in Delaware, began offering Marigold to over 10,000 members with substance use disorder (SUD) last summer, hundreds of people have engaged with a Marigold peer. Dr. Jordan Weisman, ACDE’s Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health, shared that the pandemic has exacerbated the drug overdose epidemic. "We know peer support can increase use of proactive outpatient care, such as medication-assisted treatment, that save lives and improve health outcomes. For those reasons, we thought Marigold's services would be greatly beneficial to our members with SUD," he said. Marigold has continued to grow in DE, recently opening an office in Wilmington, as well as hiring a larger workforce of DE-certified peers across the state.
Marigold has entered other states through partnerships with healthcare providers. In Rhode Island, Marigold will be offered to patients at Wood River Health Services next month, a large provider of medical, dental, and social services. Alison Croke, Wood River’s CEO, believes that the most effective primary care is integrated with behavioral health. “Marigold gives us a new capability to offer peer support to our entire population, while also increasing utilization of our existing behavioral health programs such as counseling and medication management,” she said.
Flare Capital Partners, Epsilon Health Investors, Tau Ventures, SpringTide Investments, and Stand Together Ventures also participated in the round. Shrenik Jain, Marigold’s CEO, reports the funding will be used to build the company’s peer workforce and enter new states:
“The massive unmet need for mental health and substance use care today require new approaches. Fortunately, there are millions of people in recovery who can provide support to patients in need today. Marigold’s goal is to expand the reach of peers by building a robust workforce in each state, and dramatically increase access to support through 24/7 text groups. Going forward, we’re particularly interested in partnering with Medicaid plans to reach the communities hit hardest by the Opioid Epidemic.”
1: Caroline RS, Megan LR, John P, Ernestine J, Kirsten JL, et al. (2021) Peer Support for Opioid Use Disorders: Feasibility and Acceptability of a Moderated Text-Based Group Chat Application. J Addict Res Therapy 12:421
About Marigold Health:
Marigold Health's mission is to give people agency in their health and recovery. We achieve this by designing technology to facilitate human connection and by training people in recovery to support others. Since 2016, Marigold has engaged thousands of patients and validated novel peer-peer interventions in multiple federally funded studies. We pride ourselves on designing for accessibility. Over 75% of our current members are on public health insurance, and our provider partners are a diverse network of primary care clinics, substance use treatment providers, and hospital systems.
We’re growing! To learn more about careers at Marigold, visit https://jobs.lever.co/marigoldhealth.
About KdT Ventures:
KdT Ventures is an early stage Venture Capital firm focused on the enablement that data and frontier computational technologies have brought to the physical and life sciences. To this end, KdT invests in transformative technologies and platforms across the verticals of Medicine, Chemicals, and Agriculture, utilizing an extensive network of fellow entrepreneurs, advisors, and funders to support its portfolio companies. For more information, please visit www.kdtvc.com.
About Felicis Ventures
Founded in 2006, Felicis Ventures is a venture capital firm that has backed 28 companies valued at $1B or more. Felicis invests in iconic companies reinventing core markets, as well as those creating frontier technologies. More than 80 Felicis portfolio companies have been acquired or gone public, including Adyen (IPO), Guardant Health (IPO), Fitbit (IPO), Shopify (IPO), Meraki (acquired by Cisco), Twitch (acquired by Amazon) and Ring (acquired by Amazon). To learn more, please visit www.felicis.com.