Cox Enterprises Leads Motivo Funding Round

08/18/2022

Motivo Health, the first marketplace connecting mental health therapists with clinical supervisors online, has raised $14M in Series A funding led by Cox Enterprises with participation from SteelSky Ventures and Great Oaks Venture Capital. This investment allows Motivo – which was founded by licensed therapist Rachel McCrickard in 2018 – to carry out its mission of providing accessible, affordable clinical supervision to aspiring therapists.

The U.S. faces a mental health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A key barrier to accessing mental health care is the unfortunate reality that demand for licensed therapists far outpaces supply. There simply aren’t enough therapists to meet the growing mental health needs of the population.

One key reason for the shortage of mental health providers is the long, arduous process to obtain licensure. Much like a doctor is required to fulfill a residency at a hospital, those working toward professions in the mental health sector are required to complete approximately two years of face-to-face consultation with a licensed therapist following graduate school. According to respective licensure bodies, 64% of those who obtain a master’s degree in counseling never become licensed due to the time (two to four years of clinical supervision) and expense associated with completing licensure. Historically completed in person, the rise of telehealth, as well as the global pandemic, prompted most states to allow counseling and supervision hours to be delivered virtually, resulting in a $173 billion total addressable market.

Motivo enables virtual supervision and coordination of licensure requirements at a state level to reduce the cost and time to achieve and maintain licensure for therapists. McCrickard’s own experience traveling two hours to the closest supervisor sparked her idea for the company.

“At a time when our society needs quality mental health providers, it’s critical we leverage technology to remove unnecessary barriers in the licensure process,” said McCrickard. “We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Cox Enterprises, SteelSky Ventures, and others. Our investors align with our mission and will help accelerate our growth, while also keeping a keen eye on the overall quality and impact we are having on the mental health profession.”

To date, Motivo has assisted over 2,500 therapists in obtaining licensure. In 2020, the company recruited key executive hires, Michael Chen as CTO/Co-Founder and Sarah Louragh as COO, both formerly from Airbnb. Earlier this year, Dr. Carla Smith joined the company as Chief Clinical Officer. Tim Howe of Cox Enterprises and Chris Cavazos, formerly of Humana, serve on Motivo’s board of directors. Motivo is clinician-led, which separates the company from many of the other health tech companies that have launched in recent years.

"There is tremendous opportunity to impact the mental health industry in a meaningful way,” said Tim Howe, associate vice president of healthcare strategy and investments, Cox Enterprises. “Behavioral health is an important component of our health care strategy, and Motivo is focused on helping therapists, social workers, behavior analysts and psychologists take that final step in their career. As a licensed therapist herself, Rachel deeply understands the pain points that exist for therapists, and her solution addresses their most critical needs, with a focus on access and affordability.”

“I saw Motivo’s potential early on and am proud to have been an early investor. Fast-forward to 2022, and therapists are more needed than ever due to the mental health crisis, however, labor is in short supply. Motivo has become critical in providing a strong and capable pipeline of therapists by helping with licensing, upskilling, and staffing, and is effectively strengthening access to care for those who need it most. Motivo’s past success and positive trajectory under Rachel McCrickard’s leadership gives me the utmost confidence in the company’s future and inspired us to invest in the company's Series A round," commented Maria Toler Velissaris, Founding Partner of SteelSky Ventures.

Motivo will use the funding to grow its sales and engineering team, acquire additional contracts with behavioral health organizations, digital health companies, and health plans, and sign channel partnerships with graduate universities. Motivo will also expand to providing continuing education for therapist re-certification and build out a product offering for clinical staff augmentation and direct service delivery.

More information about Motivo Health can be found at motivohealth.com.

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