Former Facebook CFO Launches Digital Health Startup Backed By Venrock


David Ebersman, Facebook’s former CFO, has launched a new digital health business focused on serving the mental health population to improve care coordination and outcomes tracking. Ebersman stepped into his position as Facebook’s CFO in September 2009, and stayed on to lead the company through its IPO in May 2012. Prior to his time at Facebook, Ebersman had spent 15 years at Genentech, starting as a business development manager and working his way up to the CFO position there as well.

Now, with a decade of experience in the C-suite behind him, Ebersman is taking on the role of CEO as he launches his own business, called Lyra Health, funded by both himself and Venrock. Ebersman has recruited some big names in digital health to join him, including Dena Bravata MD and former Castlight CMO and head of products, and Bob Kocher, MD and current Venrock partner and former White House policy advisor who helped draft the ACA.

In its announcement, Venrock notes that digital health investments are booming because the healthcare industry is pushing hard to lower costs by using technologies that can optimize business processes, or improve disease management and clinical outcomes. Ebersman explains, “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, and, surprisingly, not much tech has been brought to bear to this problem that is a lonely and exhausting experience.”

To tackle this problem, Lyra will offer software and services designed to identify patients that need mental health services, coordinate initial screenings for them, and match patients with the ideal care team and best treatments for their condition.

Mental health disorders contribute a significant amount to overall health spending in the US on their own, but they also impact the outcomes of unrelated treatments, because this population tends to have higher rates of non-adherence to treatment plans and medication instructions. Because 35 percent of the population suffers from some form of mental health disorder, the problem is one that could significantly reduce costs.

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