The first HIPAA-compliant platform providing online clinical supervision for mental health therapists’ licensure raises its first strategic round of capital.
CHATTANOOGA, DEC. 3, 2019 — 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.
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.
Motivo is a graduate of Chattanooga Co.Lab’s Co.Starters and Accelerator programs, as well as Techstars Atlanta. Chattanooga-based investors, The Jump Fund and Transparency Health, as well as several local angel investors, contributed to Motivo’s Seed Round.
In 2019, 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 in2017, 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.
“We have watched Rachel grow her company from idea to reality, first through Chattanooga’s Co.Lab accelerator program and then TechStars Atlanta. Her rapid escalation of the product to address access to licensure in all states that allow online supervision has been impressive to witness. We are thrilled to partner with Cox, Next Wave Impact Fund and others to help scale and grow this important resource for mental health professionals,” said Kristina Montague, Managing Partner at The JumpFund.
Motivo is the largest platform for therapist tele-supervision connecting pre-licensed therapists with clinical supervisors through secure video conference. Motivo helps aspiring therapists get the supervision required to earn their license, grow their skills, and launch their careers. For more information, visit wearemotivo.com or follow Motivo on social media @wearemotivo.