Health and dental benefits provider Green Shield Canada (GSC) is acquiring Halifax-based Tranquility Online to support the expansion of its digital mental health ecosystem.
For GSC, the deal expands on its recent acquisition of Inkblot Therapy and investment in MindBeacon, two Toronto-based startups that also provide virtual mental health services.
“The deal is very transformative for us.”
-Joel Muise, Tranquility
GSC has tasked Inkblot and Tranquility’s teams with working on integrated solutions during the coming months, towards the goal of building a full-service digital mental health offering. GSC plans to share more details on this arrangement later this year.
“In partnership, GSC, Inkblot and Tranquility will play a key role in knocking down barriers and providing a much-needed alternative for patients struggling to navigate the mental health system, enduring long wait-times or facing expensive treatment options,” said Joe Blomeley, executive vice president of mental health at GSC.
Halifax-based Tranquility specializes in internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) and mental health coaching for anxiety, depression and other related conditions. The startup offers its app to individuals, employers, and public sector organizations. Tranquility was founded in 2017 by former chartered financial analyst Joel Muise and Alissa Pencer, a clinical psychologist and senior instructor at Dalhousie University.
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Blomeley said GSC has prioritized identifying “innovative, clinically-validated companies like Tranquility,” that can help GSC “remove barriers to mental health care.” He said this strategy comes in part as a response to the pandemic’s impact on Canadians’ mental health.
GSC and its group of companies made the acquisition through Green Shield Holdings. Under the terms of the deal, Tranquility’s current leadership team will continue to operate the business under the Tranquility brand, and remain based in Halifax. Muise, who previously served as CEO, will continue on as president of Tranquility.
“The deal is very transformative for us,” Muise told BetaKit. “We have an amazing product and service, but during the last several years we learned that the market was difficult to break into as a stand-alone service. Having a partner with the reach and resources like GSC is going to help open doors across Canada for us.”
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Muise referred to the acquisition as “a major victory for the Halifax technology ecosystem.” He added that Tranquility is excited to work with GSC’s other partners, including Inkblot, “to create a comprehensive continuum of mental health care” for its clients.
GSC is one of Canada’s largest providers of health and dental benefits. Through partnerships, the benefits firm wants to build “one of Canada’s top digital health ecosystems.” In addition to its acquisitions of Inkblot and Tranquility and investment in MindBeacon, GSC has also invested in or partnered with a number of other Canadian healthtech startups, including Maple, PocketPills, and GenXys.
In June, GSC launched Digital Clinic, a new suite of health products and services from companies it has acquired, invested in, or partnered with, including Inkblot, MindBeacon, Maple, PocketPills, and GenXys, making them available at discounted rates to GSC benefits plan holders.
Feature image from Tranquility Online