Excited to announce our investment alongside KdT, Epsilon, Flare and Felicis in the $3.5M seed extension of Marigold Health. They use AI-augmented chat support groups to reach and retain patients with behavioral health needs in community-based treatment. Tau Ventures is an AI-first fund in Silicon Valley investing primarily in seed but we occasionally take later bets when we see immense promise. The company was founded in 2017 and impressed us with (1) a strong need, (2) building an execution-focused team, and (3) creating a differentiated product.
1) The Need
Mental health is an underserved area overall. Substance abuse disorder (SUD) is an especially vulnerable part of it, interleaving significantly with poverty, homelessness and the opioid crisis. The stats are staggering indeed:
- $45B spent annually on SUD, doubling every 6 years
- 90% of the 20M Americans with an SUD are not receiving treatment.
- 8 Years average time in treatment before 1 year of recovery
2) The Team
For us Marigold has a rare blend of technical prowess and understanding of social challenges. The company was started by three graduates of Johns Hopkins — it is one of the foremost healthcare institutions in the world located in a troubled city. CEO / cofounder Shrenik Jain studied applied math and public healthcare, was a caseworker in Baltimore, and has significant frontline EMT experience. He was also featured by Business Insider in Oct 2018 around his work with Marigold. CPO Ravi Shah studied computer science and engineering and has spent many years building digital health systems. Marigold also brought in Tracey Cohen as Chief Medical Officer a year ago given her decade-long work with Medicaid plus her focus on SUD.
3) The Product
The power to peer model means Marigold relies on natural language processing (NLP) to understand intent. They also rely on two main channels: bulk outreach through payors (insurers) and outpatient referrals through local providers (doctors). The company’s vision is that by preventing or minimizing addiction at a population level they can significantly save costs, to the level of 20x, and obviously improve people’s lives.
We are honored and excited to be part of Marigold’s journey, using technology to solve a big problem. More at http://marigoldhealth.com.
Originally published on “Data Driven Investor,” am happy to syndicate on other platforms. I am the Managing Partner and Cofounder of Tau Ventures with 20 years in Silicon Valley across corporates, own startup, and VC funds. These are purposely short articles focused on practical insights (I call it gl;dr — good length; did read). Many of my writings are at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amgarg/detail/recent-activity/posts and I would be stoked if they get people interested enough in a topic to explore in further depth. If this article had useful insights for you, comment away and/or give a like on the article and on the Tau Ventures’ LinkedIn page, with due thanks for supporting our work. All opinions expressed here are my own.