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Mental health startup Cerebral gets SoftBank funding, valuation surges to $4.8 bln

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Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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Dec 8 (Reuters) - Online mental health startup Cerebral has raised $300 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, it said on Wednesday, lifting its valuation fourfold to $4.8 billion in less six months after the last capital raise.

The San Francisco-based company, which signed four-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast and mental health advocate Simone Biles as its chief impact officer in October, had raised $127 million at a valuation of $1.2 billion in June.

The latest round takes Cerebral's total capital raised so far to $462 million. The company has seen rapid growth since its launch in January last year. It has a team of more than 2,000 clinicians across 50 U.S. states and partners with insurers such as Aetna, Cigna, Magellan and Medicare among others.

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Cerebral's online services include counseling, therapy and medication delivery and management for a host of mental and behavioral health conditions.

Top bosses at telehealth startups have said that demand for online mental health care will be a priority in a post-COVID world, after lockdowns took a toll on people's wellbeing and resulted in a surge in demand for virtual consultations.

A study by The Lancet medical journal showed that 76 million additional cases of anxiety disorders and 53 million more major depressive disorder were reported in 2020, with women and people belonging to younger generations being the most affected.

The funding was backed by new as well existing investors, including Prysm Capital, Access Industries, WestCap Group and ARTIS Ventures.

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Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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