Talkspace is a tele-behavioral healthcare company whose mission is to provide people with cheaper and more convenient access to therapy to help them overcome their day-to-day challenges in a stigma-free environment. The company, founded by Oren and Roni Frank in 2012, includes a network of over 5,000 qualified and licensed therapists. With fees starting at only $65 per week, users can leave text, voice, and video messages with counselors who respond five days a week. Talkspace serves teenagers, adults, and couples.
The company recently raised $50 million in its latest round of funding. The investment round was led by Revolution Growth; however, existing partners, such as Norwest Venture Partners, Qumra Capital, Spark Capital, and Compound also participated. To date, Talkspace has now raised upwards of $110 million. According to Oren Frank, CEO and co-founder, the company is now valued in the mid-hundreds of millions .
In addition, Patrick Conroy of Revolution Growth joined Talkspace’s Board of Directors. Conroy is a principal at Revolution Growth and a board observer with BigCommerce, CAVA, CLEAR, and Convene. Conroy graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in commerce, organizations, and entrepreneurships with a focus on business economics. Prior to working at Revolution Growth, Conroy was an analyst at Morgan Stanley on the Technology Investment Banking and Global Capital Markets teams.
“We view the addressable market for Talkspace as an enormous opportunity that is growing in both size and importance…Talkspace is a rare breed of company that is applying novel technologies to help consumers dramatically improve their quality of life,” says Conroy. “The progress they’ve made thus far underscores the overwhelming demand for greater and easier access to mental health services. Affordable, convenient, and high-quality care is a critical need for tens of millions of Americans, and our partnership will help ensure that treatment can be available at the click of a button.”
Concurrently, Talkspace signed a deal with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, a major United States health insurer. This partnership signifies progress in the remote psychotherapy industry. Although previously deemed ineffective, the growth in companies offering such services and the continuously identified benefits of the services to Americans is proving that this alternative method to traditional therapy is, in fact, highly beneficial. The new partnership is anticipated to provide Optum’s two million customers with access to Talkspace.
Access to online therapy comes at a time when mental health coverage is declining. Simultaneously, suicide rates are rising. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “in 2017, 47,000 Americans died by suicide and 70,000 from drug overdoses. And 17.3 million adults suffered at least one major depressive episode. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a landmark law passed more than a decade ago, requires insurers to provide comparable coverage for mental health and medical treatments. Even so, insurers are denying claims, limiting coverage, and finding other ways to avoid complying with the law.”
A recent report titled “Research on Health Care Costs of Untreated Conditions is Limited,” published by the United States Government Accountability Office to Congressional Requesters, identified that 80 percent of American’s did not receive treatment in 2017 because they were perceived as not needing treatment. In addition, it was estimated that 56.8 million adults had a substance use or mental health condition in 2017, and 39.7 million of those individuals did not receive treatment; that’s almost 70 percent.
With this influx in mental health concerns among the American population, more providers are recommending that their clients use digital apps to access therapy. This is because of the abundant benefits of online therapy. Online therapy saves money compared to traditional therapy, allows clients to have more frequent contact with therapists, is more convenient and accessible than traditional therapy, and allows clients to express themselves in more ways than they previously could – via text, audio, and video.
As the benefits of online therapy continue to emerge, Oren Frank from Talkspace foresees a promising future for the company. He hopes to establish more partnerships like the recent one with UnitedHealth. Additionally, he hopes to expand to China – a country where there are fewer than two psychiatrists per 100,000 people, compared with 12 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in the United States. China only recently had its first mental health law established in 2013, and the introduction of Talkspace in such communities could be extremely beneficial.
“Our advanced capabilities in data science enable us to not only open access to therapy but also identify the attributes of successful therapeutic relationships and apply that knowledge throughout the predictive products we build, to the therapists that use our platform, and in the content we provide,” says Oren Frank.
BusinessInsider has more insight on what this therapy app has to offer.