Motivo, the first platform for therapist tele-supervision, announced today the company has raised $2.2 million of seed financing in an investment round led by Cox Enterprises. Participation from venture capital firms includes Techstars, SEI Ventures, ECMC, Great Oaks VC, The Jump Fund, Emmett Partners, and Next Wave Impact Fund, along with multiple angel investors.
A first mover in this space, Motivo connects recent graduates to a clinical supervisor to fulfill state licensure requirements as a therapist, counselor, social worker or psychologist. Similar to residency for a doctor, aspiring mental health professionals are required to complete approximately two years of face-to-face consultation with a licensed therapist following graduate school. This process is called clinical supervision. Historically, these hours had to be completed in person, however, with the rise of telehealth, many states now allow supervision hours to be collected through secure video conference.
“Obtaining these hours is more difficult than one might think,” said CEO and founder, Rachel McCrickard. “For a therapist, getting your degree is actually the easy part. It’s becoming licensed that is hard.”
On her own journey to become a licensed therapist, McCrickard withstood a weekly two-hour commute to complete her supervision hours over the course of two years. That experience gave her a front seat view into the geographic boundaries that preclude mental health professionals from serving rural areas. When the rules began to change to allow tele-supervision, she was galvanized to take action.
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McCrickard said, “As stigma related to mental health lessens, more and more people are choosing to pursue a career as a mental health professional. The supervision process is the last mile of obtaining a credential as a therapist. At Motivo, we aim to make supervision easier and more accessible than ever before.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 55% of U.S. counties—all rural—have no practicing mental health professionals. By providing an accessible path to licensure for incoming therapists, Motivo has a direct impact on increasing the mental health provider population in traditionally underserved communities.
After graduating from the 2018 Techstars Atlanta accelerator program, Motivo added Tim Howe, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy & Investments at Cox Enterprises to its board of directors.
“Over the past few years, Cox Enterprises has developed a strong interest in digital health, particularly in the innovative use of software platforms to provide more accessible healthcare solutions,” Howe said. “We see Motivo as perfectly positioned to capture the therapist credentialing market, and to identify lateral healthcare markets that would also benefit from tele-supervision and the Motivo marketplace. We are proud to lead Motivo’s round and utilize our resources and connections to help Motivo scale.”
Motivo will use its seed funding to grow the team, acquire contracts with mental health agencies and clinics, and sign channel partnerships with therapist associations and universities. Thus far, Motivo has identified 12 credential types in the healthcare industry that require supervised hours, representing a $6.5 billion dollar market opportunity.
Since founding Motivo in 2017, the company has witnessed exciting growth as a two-sided marketplace. New graduates and mental health clinics are able to select from a robust list of state-approved supervisors for tele-supervision. For supervisors, Motivo provides a back-end solution for managing one’s online supervision practice. The company recently signed a partnership with the AAMFT, the largest association for marriage and family therapists, after also signing the American Counseling Association earlier this year.
Motivo advisor, Mark Goldenson, former CEO and founder of Breakthrough Behavioral, a telemental health platform acquired by MDLIVE in 2014, said, “It’s pretty uncommon in 2019 to find a market that is large, untapped, pursuable without hard tech, and highly defensible. Motivo found one.”
Source: Markets Insider