Arise, the digital healthcare company enabling comprehensive care for eating disorders, mental health, and long-term healing, has launched today after raising over $4M in a seed funding round. Arise is building a virtual-first care model to reach and engage more of the 30 million Americans who will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime — 80-90% of whom will not get care today. The round was led by Greycroft and BBG Ventures with participation from Wireframe Ventures, Cityblock co-founder Iyah Romm and Sonder Health founder Sylvia Romm, MD, MPH, and PatientPing founder Jay Desai, among others.
Arise will bring integrated community and clinical care to people living with disordered eating and eating disorders, which are a category of conditions that can show up in different ways for people — including binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia, rumination disorder, avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and other conditions. The company’s care model is designed to also address the past and current life circumstances and underlying conditions that can contribute to and exist alongside eating disorders — including trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.
“Eating disorders are complex, and they look different for everyone. They’re rarely about just food or body image alone, but also deeply connected to psychosocial factors, social determinants of health, and past experiences and traumas. Today’s systems of care are not set up to address all of this together,” said Arise co-founder and CEO Amanda D’Ambra. “We believe that by bringing together community and clinical care we can expand access to people who have been less likely to get support — because everyone should have the chance to heal.”
In addition to overcoming access barriers and broadening care options to best serve the complexity of eating disorders, Arise aims to expand access to the diverse populations of people experiencing eating disorders — including boys and men, people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, transgender, and gender-nonconforming+, those who live in larger bodies, who are neurodivergent or disabled, and others.
“The reality is that in today’s world, it’s a privilege to heal from an eating disorder. Stigma makes it difficult for people to identify their eating disorder and this is magnified when your families and communities don’t have language to describe, let alone identify, the eating disorder. People who defy these odds and courageously seek out support are often confronted by how overwhelming, expensive, and inaccessible treatment can be — so they often end up struggling for years,” said Arise co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joan Zhang. “With Arise, we aim to break down these barriers so that more people have access to care that validates their lived experiences and supports them on their path to long-term healing.”
Arise launches at a time when eating disorders, which are the second deadliest behavioral health condition after opioid use disorder, are sharply increasing. Even before Covid-19 triggered a global mental health crisis, a 2019 study found that rates of eating disorders are at least four times higher than previously thought, making them comparable to drug use disorders.
“We’ve all felt the real mental health toll these past couple of years, and rates of eating disorders are skyrocketing,” said BBG Ventures managing partner Nisha Dua. “Arise is tackling the enormous need for expanded care to populations who have been underserved. As our country takes on this growing mental health crisis, we are investing in solutions that offer effective care that can both meet people’s individual needs and scale. Arise is positioned to do just that.”
By addressing a broad spectrum of needs and acuity levels, the company aims to reduce the $11.3 billion annual cost burden on the healthcare system and for informal care, and mitigate the $363 million people spend in out-of-pocket costs every year. The company expects to partner with commercial health plans and Medicaid to make its services accessible and affordable for those who need it.
Arise plans to launch a beta program on its community care in late summer 2022, followed by its full care model with clinical services in the fall.