Peer Support Startup Forum Raises $5.3M; BeMe Health Lands $1.5M

Digital peer support startup Forum gets $5.3M in seed round

The New York City-based startup Forum has created a digital peer support marketplace to help people through major life issues. These include addiction recovery, grief, relationship issues, career changes, chronic health conditions, loneliness and grief.

NextView Ventures led the company’s $5.3 million seed round, with participation from MBX Capital, Cue Ball Capital, Sahil Bloom of SRB Ventures, Romeen Sheth, Shaan Puri and City Light Capital.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar and Lee Pichette founded the company in 2022. They are Forum’s CEO and president, respectively.


“Forum is the industry’s first marketplace that truly understands what consumers are looking for in peer support groups,” Lee Hower, co-founder and partner at NextView Ventures, said in a news release. “As demand for peer support skyrockets, we’re thrilled to be partnering with a founding team that has a differentiated vision informed by its deep and unique experience.”

Forum seeks to fill a gap left by the behavioral health industry, which is poorly filled by social media and other informal online support communities. The company’s group services are live, video-based and facilitated by a vetted moderator.

Ascellus Health lands $4.6M, more may be on the way

St. Petersburg, Florida-based Ascellus Health raised $4.6 million in convertible debt and equity options, according to public filings.


The company partners with companies to provide behavioral health services to injured workers. It offers virtual and in-person services, largely work-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Ascellus Health also offers employers predictive analytics on individual cases.

Founded in 2009, the company previously secured an $8 million funding round in 2022, co-led by HLM Venture Partners and .406 Ventures.

The latest funding round is not yet complete. The filing states that it still seeks an additional $3 million to complete the $7.6 million offering.

Ascellus Health has a network of 1,500 providers across 50 states.

BCBS of Kansas invests in, partners with virtual pediatric care provider

Miami-based BeMe Health announced a strategic partnership and a $1.5 million investment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.

The startup is capitalizing on the increased interest and historic shortage of pediatric-focused behavioral health services. Before the announcement, the company had secured a total of $17 million in funding, according to other media reports.

BeMe Health’s other investors include Fiore Ventures, Flare Capital, Polaris Partners and the California Health Care Foundation.

“Traditional teen mental health solutions often fall short, leaving many without access to timely support that can change their lives for the better,” Matt All, CEO and president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, said in a news release. “BeMe’s platform offers a transformative solution, and it couldn’t come at a more critical time for teens and families in Kansas and across the nation.”

Earlier in the month, BeMe Health announced that it had secured partnerships with Inland Empire Health Plan and Molina Healthcare of California, extending BeMe’s reach to 72,000 children.

Virtual PTSD startup gets venture backing

New Haven, Connecticut-based Nema Health received $4.1 million in seed funding. Optum Ventures and .406 Ventures co-led the round, and Graymatter Capital and other angel investors also participated.

The company also announced it was launching its care program in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut through an unnamed national insurance partner.

The company was founded by Mariam Malik and Dr. Sofia Noori in 2021.

The telehealth company offers care through therapists, peer mentors, case managers and psychiatrists when needed.

“Our current system poses significant challenges to survivors of PTSD and complex trauma: they have the strength within to find healing, but until now, there hasn’t been an accessible way for them to reach it,” Noori said in a news release.

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