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Mindoula Health, a Silver Springs, Maryland-based virtual behavioral health provider, will invest proceeds from a recent growth equity round into bolstering its data science capabilities, said CEO Steve Sidel. While the company will primarily employ a build-versus-buy approach, Sidel said Mindoula, which has made a handful of acquisitions over its seven-year history, will be opportunistic about acquisitions that could boost its data science, artificial intelligence and analytics capabilities. He cited Mindoula’s 2016 acquisition of startup Care at Hand, a predictive insights platform helping to prevent hospital admissions, as an example of the types of buys Mindoula would consider in the future.

“Data science is huge for us,” Sidel said. “We already have a natural language processing in the background and we’re continuing to build out capacity around machine learning. We’re an analytics and engagement services company, so continuing to build out analytics is key.”
Mindoula took in an investment of an undisclosed size from Equality Asset Management, announced 28 July, after running a process that launched at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference in San Francisco in January, Sidel said. Mindoula, which was advised by Ziegler, was considering a myriad of growth equity, private equity and venture capital investors, Sidel said.

“Really the full range of folks that wanted control-deals, minority deals—we had a whole range of options,” he said. The CEO declined to disclose terms of the investment or whether it represents a majority or minority stake.
Mindoula, which is profitable, remained on solid financial footing throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic, electing not to pursue a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the US federal government, Sidel said. COVID-19 "created additional need for behavioral health support, including virtual health for underserved populations in need, and additional urgency around being able to help those members," Sidel said, noting the pandemic was a growth driver for Mindoula.

The executive declined to disclose additional financial details for company, which has about 150 employees.

Mindoula’s technology platform helps identify and engage patients with complex behavioral health, medical and social challenges. Clients include those with co-morbid medical conditions, specialty populations such as victims of interpersonal violence, and patients who benefit from behavioral treatment in a primary care or community health setting. The company offers telepsychiatry and virtual care management, and leverages analytics and machine learning to help health systems prevent rehospitalizations and costly health burdens.

Sidel said the company remains focused on putting existing capital to work for the near-term, but noted that Mindoula is likely well-positioned to eventually explore a public listing.

“I do think people are already thinking of us that way,” Sidel said, pointing to public peers Livongo [NASDAQ:LVGO] and Teladoc [NYSE:TDOC]. “We could see Mindoula addressing [the public markets] in some period of years.”

Livongo has seen its stock perform well after a successful 2019 IPO, inspiring a spate of private digital health companies to consider initial public offerings as a means of accessing capital, this news service has reported. COVID-19 has only accelerated existing demand for virtual health, representing a tailwind for many digital and telehealth firms, Mergermarket has reported.

Cooley and Baker Donelson provide legal advisory for Mindoula.

by Claire Rychlewski in Chicago