Office Hours: Headspace Health CEO Russell Glass on Mental Health in the COVID Era

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Office Hours: Headspace Health CEO Russell Glass on Mental Health in the COVID Era

The demand for mental health services has, for some time, been on the rise. But entrepreneur Russell Glass says the pandemic accelerated one key trend that favored his business: the adoption of telehealth services like Headspace.

Glass is the CEO of Headspace Health, the product of a recent merger between Headspace and Ginger, which happened at a challenging time during the pandemic, while many of its workers were still working remotely.

Glass spoke with Spencer Rascoff for this episode of “Office Hours” about the two companies merging — and how that, so far, is working out.

“I think in a lot of ways COVID accelerated the awareness of the importance of this, and the adoption rate of some of these things. But it also created significant challenges,” Glass said.

“People's willingness to adopt telehealth went through the roof because they had no choice. They couldn't see their provider that was prior in-person. And we also saw companies saying we've got to do something, because people are really struggling during this period.”

Glass landed in his current role after a long career as an entrepreneur, He was previously the founder and CEO of Bizo, a B2B audience marketing and data platform, and once a vice president of product at LinkedIn.

In 2018, he joined Ginger as its CEO and set the stage for a merger with the meditation app startup Headspace -- a move he considered a strategic move for growth.

“What we recognized here was just this massive global need. And, at Ginger, we had grown 1,000% in the last couple of years, but recognized that the need was so huge,” he said. “And so we started to think, 'okay, if there were a strategic partner that allowed us to reach more people more quickly and allowed us to think more about preventative care'.”

Glass said that part of what’s made it a successful merger, so far, has been the two companies building trust among its workers and their flexibility to work remotely — a product of the company culture he helped forged.

“Because the culture and values fit is so strong, because the mission alignment is so strong, I have extreme confidence and excitement for what we're going to be able to do,” he said. “But it's hard. I don't recommend anybody try to bring two companies together that don't have really, really good culture fits in the middle of a pandemic.”

Want to hear more episodes? Subscribe to Office Hours on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA Engagement Editor Luis Gomez contributed to this post.

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David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

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Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
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