Facebook Ex-Finance Chief Starts Behavioral Health-Care Company

David Ebersman, who took Facebook Inc. public as its chief financial officer, now has a venture of his own.

Ebersman’s startup is called Lyra Health, focused on using data to improve treatment of behavioral disorders including depression, anxiety and addiction. It is backed by Ebersman and Venrock, the venture capital firm.

Ebersman, who worked at Genentech Inc. before joining Facebook, said he left the social networking company last year in part to get back into the health care industry. He left with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s blessing, he said.

Zuckerberg “very much believed in the idea that if there’s something important to you, you have to take a shot at it, even if it’s hard,” Ebersman said in an interview. Several of Facebook’s former executives have launched startups on their own, including Quip Inc., by former chief technology officer Bret Taylor, and Asana, the workplace productivity company by co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

Ebersman plans to make technology for employers, insurers and hospitals that helps analyze treatment outcomes and coordinate care.

“In the current system, far too many patients are undiagnosed, and those who are diagnosed aren’t getting the right treatment,” he said. “Depression and anxiety are very high on the list in terms of cost drivers and issues that negatively affect productivity.”

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