Psychological well being, and the way it’s getting addressed, has been one of many main leitmotifs of the previous 12 months of pandemic residing. Covid-19 not solely has led to lots of people getting unwell or worse; it has elevated isolation, financial uncertainty, and led to lots of different kinds of disappointments, and that every one has had a knock-on impact on our collective and particular person mind-set.
In the present day a startup known as Headway, which has been engaged on constructing a greater means for folks to take care of themselves — by means of a three-sided market of kinds, by serving to an individual to search out and afford a therapist by way of a free-to-use portal, by making it doable for these therapists to just accept a wider vary of insurance coverage, and by serving to these insurance coverage facilitate extra remedy appointments for his or her affected person networks — is saying a significant spherical of funding on the heels of robust progress.
The startup has raised $70 million, cash that it is going to be utilizing to proceed increasing its platform with extra partnerships, extra hiring for its crew (it needs to have 300 folks this 12 months) and opening up in new areas, aiming to be nationwide this 12 months within the U.S.. This spherical, a Collection B, has various huge names connected to it: it’s being led by Andreessen Horowitz, with Thrive, GV and Accel additionally taking part. (The latter three are repeat buyers: Thrive and GV led its Collection A, whereas Accel led its seed.) This Collection B is coming in at a $750 million valuation.
The speedy tempo of funding, the backers, and that valuation all underscore the timeliness of the idea, and in addition the traction that Headway is getting for its method.
Once we final coated Headway — it raised $26 million simply final November, six months in the past — it mentioned it had registered some 1,800 therapists on its platform within the New York metro space, the place it’s primarily based. Now that quantity is as much as over 3,000 with its community now masking not simply NYC, but additionally New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia, Washington, Illinois and Colorado. It has over 2,000 sufferers becoming a member of the platform every month and has to this point helped facilitate 300,000 appointments, with a present common of 30,000 appointments every month. Revenues have within the final 12 months, menawhile, grown nine-fold.
The method that Headway is taking — creating not only a vertical search portal for therapists, however constructing a back-end system to assist these therapists develop their enterprise by making it simpler for them to just accept insurance coverage protection — comes straight out of the experiences confronted by one of many startup’s co-founders.
Andrew Adams, the CEO of Headway, informed me final 12 months he got here up with the thought after he moved to New York from California a number of years in the past to take a job. In looking for a therapist, he discovered most unwilling to just accept his insurance coverage plan as fee, making getting remedy unaffordable.
This can be a very typical downside, he mentioned. Some 70% of therapists don’t settle for insurance coverage at present as a result of it’s too difficult for them to combine, since about 85% of all therapists occur to be solo practitioners. So one thing that ought to be accessible to everybody turns into one thing sometimes solely utilized by those that can afford it, or have entered into social care packages that may present it. However that leaves a large hole within the center.
“This is the defining problem in the space,” he mentioned on the time. “Health insurance is built around a medical world dominated by billers and admins, but therapists are small practitioners and don’t have the bandwidth to handle that, so they don’t. So we thought if we could make it easier for them to, they would, and they have.”
And certainly, if you’re needing to see a therapist, the very last item you want or need to be doing is spending your time making an attempt to work out the economics of doing so: you could be centered on discovering somebody who you are feeling you may discuss to; somebody who might help you.
The issue is a large one. Within the U.S. alone it’s estimated that there are some 82 million individuals who have treatable well being situations. Headway was based on the premise that almost all of them at present don’t search that remedy due to price or accessibility.
A number of remedy has historically been about seeing folks in particular person — and arguably the truth that we’ve had a lot decreased contact with folks has contributed to psychological well being points this previous 12 months — however within the occasion, Headway has undoubtedly tailored to the present local weather.
The corporate says that some 89% of its appointments in the mean time are being carried out remotely. That is down from 97% on the peak of the pandemic within the U.S., and has been slowly beginning to taper off, the corporate mentioned. A few of the elevated quantity, in the meantime, is a direct results of therapists working remotely: they’ll match extra folks in to a each day schedule consequently.
By way of insurers, the corporate at present works with Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, Oscar and Oxford and says the record might be rising. On attention-grabbing element is that Headway has not solely constructed out an even bigger funnel for these insurers when it comes to the practitioners that they work with and people who can subsequently use insurance coverage to pay for remedy, however conversely has served to be a conduit for these insurance coverage teams in bringing extra sufferers by means of to these therapists, who are actually part of their networks, by means of Headway’s platform.
Headway says that utilizing its system might help a affected person get an appointment inside 5 days, versus the the 30-day common you sometimes face when utilizing an insurance coverage listing.
It’s the sort of scale and “software eating the world” effectivity that has attracted Andreessen Horowitz to backing firms earlier than, with the added element of this being explicit related to the time we live in.
“By getting the mental health provider community on the same page with insurance companies for the first time, Headway unlocks affordable mental healthcare for millions of Americans,” mentioned Scott Kupor, managing companion at Andreessen Horowitz. “We’re incredibly excited to work alongside the Headway team.” Kupor can also be becoming a member of Headway’s board with this spherical.
Cherry Miao, a former Accomplice at Accel and Headway’s lead seed investor, can also be becoming a member of as Head of Finance & Knowledge.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the world’s most influential startups, and know that being part of Headway’s meaningful mission, robust business model, and incredibly talented team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she mentioned. “I’m thrilled to be helping rebuild America’s mental healthcare system for access and affordability.”