San Diego-based Equip, a startup which uses a telehealth platform to bring a quality outpatient treatment for eating disorders for people virtually, has raised $13 million in Series A round of venture capital funding.
The new financing was led by Optum Ventures. Other investors include 406 Ventures and F-Prime Capital, which led the company’s seed round. The company has raised $17 million, to date.
Equip mission is to make Family Based Treatment accessible to more people through telehealth.
“Over the past 15 years, I’ve watched people cycle in and out of treatment centers before they’ve even heard of FBT,” said Kristina Saffran, co-founder and CEO of Equip. “We believe this model, which combines lived experience and clinical expertise, provides the hope that recovery is possible and worth the hard work.”
Founded in 2019, by Kristina Saffran and Erin Parks. Saffran recovered from anorexia as a teenager and founded Project Heal, a nonprofit that works for equitable access to eating disorder treatment at the age of 15. Parks is a clinical psychologist who spent the last decade at the UC San Diego Eating Disorders Center.
Eating disorders can be notoriously difficult to treat, taking up to seven years to overcome, said Saffran. Equip believes its Family-Based Treatment program can overcome eating disorders in one year.
In the US, roughly 80% of the 30 million Americans struggle with eating disorders and never receive treatment, with less than 1 percent having access to Family Based Treatment.
Equip provides families with a five-person team that includes a peer and family mentor, a medical physician, a therapist and a dietician. A virtual platform, Equip allows families to tailor treatments to fit their schedules at their homes.
Equip completed a successful “beta test” last summer with eight patients and a case study based on two of the patients has been submitted for peer review. Since then the company has treated dozens of patients throughout the US.
Expanding Geographic Reach
Saffran said the company plans to use the money to expand its geographic reach, continue building its clinical team, further develop its technology platform and launch programs with more insurance companies to grow the business.
“We want every person in America and in the world to have access to evidence based treatment. We’re working really hard to secure Medicare and Medicaid contracts and we’re excited to make those announcements later in the year,” she added.
The 50-employee firm plans to expand into other states and add more insurers who will reimburse for the telehealth eating disorder treatment.
Partnering with Optum
Additionally, Equip hopes to scale its business by building up its clinical team, developing its platform and partnering with insurers to launch employee programs. The company is launching its service with Optum, a division of UnitedHealthcare, in California, New York and Texas.
“The virtual approach to high-quality eating disorder treatment being pioneered by Equip has the opportunity to better enable families to support recovery,” said Laura Veroneau, partner at Optum Ventures. “We’ve never seen a team with this combination of lived experience and clinical expertise, and we believe Equip will be the much-needed change agent in eating disorder treatment.”
Noom, a nutrition and chronic condition management platform, also has a tech-enabled treatment program for eating disorders. Outside of eating disorder treatment, digital health companies focused on pediatric behavioral health include Brightline, which recently closed a $20 million Series A round of funding.