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Lyra Health's Chief Medical Officer Leaves Startup

CEO David Ebersman, who is Facebook's former CFO, remains at the company's helm.

Lyra Health's chief medical officer and cofounder Dena Bravata is leaving the company, along with at least two others from the clinical team. Lyra raised $35 million in October of 2015 with a vision of "transforming mental health care," according to its website.

CEO David Ebersman, who is Facebook's former CFO, remains at the company's helm.

Photo: via LinkedIn

Company spokesman Kenneth Baer confirmed Bravata's exit in a statement to Fast Company, adding that it's a transition over a few months. "It is true that Dena has decided to move on. Dena Bravata is an amazingly talented person and a great contributor to the company's early days."

Lyra is doubling down on its data science product, which matches patients and mental health practitioners, rather than on providing medical services (a much more difficult nut to crack), according to sources. But Baer stresses that "technology and a human touch" have always been central to the company's vision, and that the medical team won't disband in the aftermath of Bravata's departure.

Lyra has remained rather fairly vague about the role of its clinical team since its public launch. But Ebersman did tell VentureBeat last October that the company is building a platform for employers and mental health professionals to "effectively screen for, treat, and coordinate care for employees suffering from mental health issues." It remains to be seen whether Lyra will continue to pursue that vision, or focus its energies on its patient-provider matching tool.

Lyra Health is one of about a handful of startups that aim to leverage technology to connect people with the mental health services they need. It's a big market opportunity, particularly as employers look for ways to support employees with anxiety and depression in the hopes of bolstering productivity and reducing absenteeism. But it's also a challenging market given the complex regulatory requirements and the shortage of mental health professionals.

It remains to be seen whether Lyra Health will hire a replacement for Bravata.

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