Activist investor denounces Talkspace’s decision-making and calls for new CEO

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Talkspace investor Firstime Ventures is asking the virtual behavioral health company to appoint a permanent CEO and release a proactive strategic plan.

This comes as Talkspace continues to struggle in the public market. The stock was valued at around $9 per share when it went public via a $1.4 billion SPAC in 2021. It is now valued at around $1 per share.

The investment firm, which owns about 5% of the company, sent a letter to Talkspace asking for clarification on the company’s future plans, according to Seeking Alpha, which first reported the story.

“Firstime is troubled by reports that have come to its attention that management may have declined to consider multiple approaches by various parties interested in discussing the purchase of Talkspace,” Firstime’s legal team wrote in a statement. letter to Talkspace Acting CEO Doug Braunstein. .

Talkspace’s management team has undergone a number of changes over the past year. The company’s former CEO and co-founder, Oren Frank, resigned from his role nearly a year ago following poor financial performance in the third quarter of 2021. At that time, Roni Rank, the co-founder and head of clinical services, also resigned.

Last November, the company’s chief operating officer, Mark Hirschhorn, resigned after “an internal review of Mr. Hirschhorn’s conduct in connection with an offsite business that took place at the end of the week last”.

The company continues to face economic headwinds. In the second quarter of 2022, the company’s revenue fell 4% year over year to $29.8 million. Although it experienced growth in its business-to-business revenue, this increase did not offset its direct-to-consumer business losses.

In June, Seeking Alpha reported that Amwell (NYSE:AMWL) had offered Talkspace a takeover deal. According to the report, Talkspace rejected Amwell’s offer before finances were discussed.

This may not have been Talkspace’s first offering. In May, Axios announced that mental health clinic operator Mindpath Health had made a takeover bid, which did not materialize.

Behavioral Health Business contacted Talkspace and Firstime Ventures for this story, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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