Grow Therapy Raises $15M as Demand for Mental-Health Services Surges

The startup aims to provide access to affordable, in-network therapy by helping therapists start and maintain their own practices.
Written by Ellen Glover
September 23, 2021Updated: October 7, 2021
NYC-based Grow Therapy raised $15M Series A, hiring
Grow Therapy co-founders Manoj Kanagaraj, Jake Cooper and Alan Ni. | Photo: Grow Therapy 

Grow Therapy, a startup that aims to provide accessible and affordable mental-health services, announced Thursday it closed on a $15 million Series A. The round was led by SignalFire, and brings its total funding raised to $16.6 million since its founding in October of 2020.

This news is coming at a time when mental health has been top of mind for a lot of folks. Depression in the United States has tripled in the last year, according to recent studies, driven mainly by pandemic-related stresses like financial insecurity. And psychologists around the country have reported a noticeable spike in demand for anxiety and depression treatment.

Despite this heightened need, Grow Therapy co-founder and CEO Jake Cooper says, in many ways, the mental-health industry is still stuck in a “different century.” For one, there are a lot of administrative burdens placed on therapists — appointments are often made over the phone, records are shared via fax — which plays a big role in why the majority of them do not accept insurance. That’s pretty bad news for the more than 60 percent of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

So, Cooper teamed up with a couple of college friends, Dr. Manoj Kanagaraj and Alan Ni, to create a tech company that provides access to affordable, in-network therapy while also supporting the therapists. Today, Grow Therapy functions as a centralized support system for therapists, sitting at the intersection of patients, providers and insurance payers. In fact, the startup claims it works with all major commercial plans in the U.S.

Grow Therapy works mainly with therapists who have more than a decade of professional experience and who are starting their own private practice for the first time — a group of people who need support now more than ever amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“When Covid set about a revolution in behavioral health and really led to the rise of telehealth practices, most providers really went from being structurally unable to start their own practice to being able to, since office space and geography were no longer considerations. That’s when we really got started,” Cooper told Built In, adding that the pandemic hastened the progress the industry had already made in bridging the gap between patients and therapists. “This isn’t temporary, this is an acceleration of what has been a secular shift decades in the making.”

And this acceleration, mainly thanks to the rise in telehealth and teletherapy, has led to a renewed level of investor attention in this space. Just last week, Spring Health raised a massive $190 million Series C, joining the scores of other mental-health startups that have been raking in funding lately, including Alma, Lyra Health and Rey.

Now, with $15 million in fresh funding of its own, Grow Therapy will continue expanding its team and capabilities. The company currently works with about 1,000 providers across five states, and plans to be in 10 states in the coming months. It is also growing its tech team, with nearly a dozen remote-friendly positions available now. Further down the road, Cooper added that the company would like to move beyond the “meat and potatoes functionality” of its platform today, and provide even more value for payers, providers and their patients.

“I genuinely believe that, in the next two to three years, we will be able to fundamentally shift what people view as the status quo correct for access,” he said. “I’m excited for what all this means for clinical care and integration. It’s crazy to me that behavioral health is so distinct and separate from other sorts of medical care. We have the opportunity and will, in our future, bridge the gap in a way that will drive better outcomes and create a more unified patient experience.”

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