A smoother path for future therapists

Rachel McCrickard, CEO of Motivo, participated in the Techstars Atlanta program in 2018. Learn how Motivo provides aspiring therapists with a pathway to clinical supervision.


Rachel McCrickard is adept at understanding others’ struggles and empathizing with them. It’s no surprise, then, that her company Motivo is built from a foundation of anticipating other people’s needs.

She’s been a licensed marriage and family therapist for years, but vividly remembers the roadblocks in her path to licensure. A native of rural Georgia, there were no nearby resources for her to complete her required clinical supervision hours.

“Therapists go through a very similar process to doctors’ residencies,” Rachel said. “Basically, you’re required to meet with another therapist every week and learn how to become a great therapist.”

The result was many hours of travel and lots of expenses.

When Georgia passed legislation in 2015 that permitted clinical supervision hours to be completed through secure video, Rachel saw an opportunity to help future therapists in rural and underserved areas. Motivo was born, providing a HIPAA-compliant platform that connects new therapists with clinical supervisors in their states.

“I got to merge my therapy skills into business skills,” Rachel said. “When I first started, I remember thinking ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’ I had to teach myself a lot of things, but the things I know as a trained therapist – being a learner, a listener, caring about your people, having appropriate boundaries and communicating clearly and kindly – those are some of the things that came more intuitively.”


“This is my moment.”

Rachel found Techstars Atlanta by way of a startup accelerator in Chattanooga, TN. Once in the Techstars family, Rachel was plugged into a global network of mentors, investors and even future employees: her first few hires joined Motivo by way of Techstars.

“It’s pretty easy to build a team once you’re connected in the Atlanta ecosystem,” she said. “What’s important about Techstars is that the reach is so far beyond what a founder has access to.”

As one example, Rachel described an opportunity she had to talk with the founder of Match.com when she was trying to figure out Motivo’s matching algorithm. Additionally, Motivo’s partnership with Anthem, a leading health benefits company, was born from Techstars connections.

Building that network takes dedication, and Rachel said that she’s grateful for the time she was able to devote solely to Motivo’s growth.

“It’s very intense,” she said. “You’re in the deep end. Even after the programmatic stuff ended each day, I would go back to my Airbnb and work until after midnight. There was a sense of “This is three months; I have to work as hard as I can. This is my moment.” It was very beneficial to have that captive time to focus on the company. I was very focused on how to present the company and how to craft the strategy behind what we were doing.”


“Believing in the vision”

Foundational to any startup is a community of people who truly support its mission. That’s what Rachel found with Techstars mentor and Cox employee, Tim Howe.

“Before Motivo was anything – when we were acquiring our first customers – Tim believed in us and what we were trying to accomplish,” she said. “Having someone like that who believes in the vision and in me as a founder is amazing. I still have him on speed-dial.”

If the support of one individual was that meaningful, how about the backing of a company the size of Cox?

“The top thing we gained was a relationship with Cox,” she said. “Cox has been incredibly supportive from day one, and beneficial for my business in particular because of Cox’s work in digital healthcare. There was a marrying of interests. I remember when we sat down with Alex Taylor, how he talked about Cox’s interest in solving a number of issues related to healthcare, clean energy and more. What I love about Cox is their willingness to evolve with the times. Even before COVID, Cox was innovating in healthcare access and digitization.”

This commitment to addressing world problems appealed to Rachel and aligned with the mission of her company.

“I have so much respect for Cox as a company,” she said. “The way they conduct business, the way they are willing to make a statement on social justice and important issues…it’s a company I feel really proud to be partnered with.”


Curious to read more stories about Cox’s innovation impact? Click here.