AnswersNow, a virtual autism treatment provider, has raised $11 million in Series A capital. CEO Jeff Beck speaks exclusively to Axios.
Important reasons: AnswersNow wants to expand the reach of virtual applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, the only autism treatment currently covered by most insurance plans.
Transaction details: Left Lane Capital led the round.
- Other backers include the American Family Institute for Social Impact, Blue Heron Capital, Difference Partners and former Kadiant CEO Lani Fritz.
- The company plans to use the funding to expand to six more states, hire more clinicians, and polish its digital platform.
- Beck said if the company needs to raise again in the near future, it will raise a Series B at the end of the year or in 2025.
environment: While the prevalence of autism in the United States has risen significantly in recent years, the existing supply of ABA providers cannot meet demand, leading to waitlists and technology-advanced technologies aimed at providing and quantifying treatment. Leading to the emergence of start-ups. for example:
- Last June, SpectrumAi raised $9 million in seed funding to measure the outcome of ABA treatments.
- Elemy, a provider of hybrid educational services for children with autism and other behavioral health conditions, raises $219 million in Series B capital at a $1.15 billion valuation in 2021. bottom.
Usage: Based in Richmond, Virginia, AnswersNow pairs families with clinicians to offer virtual ABA, an evidence-based therapy that uses rewards to help teach communication and everyday life skills.
- While other ABA providers often employ Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) or Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), AnswersNow uses only the latter.
- “We just provide care that way,” says Beck. “We stick to that. BCBA is incredibly creative.”
- AnswersNow supports most major forms of insurance including Medicaid, UnitedHealth Care, Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield.
What they say: Beck says the virtual nature of AnswersNow makes it easier to implement and yield better results because trying to directly change parent behavior can be difficult.
- “Parents are more open to it, in effect,” says Beck. A predictable environment for them. ”
- Henry Toole, an AnswersNow investor and principal at Left Lane Capital, agreed, calling the company “a large segment of the population, for people who aren’t near a treatment center and can’t have someone in their home for 20 to 40 hours.” We see it as part of the solution.” Week by week. ”
Backstory: According to Beck, who trained as a licensed clinical social worker, the company started as a Slack chat (a HIPAA-compliant version) in 2017, but after several emotional experiences with family, it became a full-fledged one. became a company.
- “Parents chatted with clinicians and mailed checks for $20 to support their children,” says Beck.
- A few months later, I got a tearful phone call from one such parent. The parent’s child struggled with the fear of automatic flushing toilets for years, but Beck says he recently overcame it thanks to the advice of his team.
State of play: The company has delivered over 10,000 hours of treatment in 2022.
conspiracy: Tracking outcomes across a population of people with autism can be challenging because each person has a different learning pace and set of goals.
- “So how do you create pre- and post-tests to assess that? We’re working on that,” says Beck.