Children have been extremely resilient during the pandemic, adapting to inconsistent school sessions, adapting to distance learning and living in a world without social interactions and extracurricular activities. Yet there has undoubtedly been additional stress on our youth, with an increase in diagnosed anxiety, eating disorders, suicide and a corresponding increase in psychotherapy requests. helloHero, a virtual pediatric therapy platform, has been a lifesaver for students, their parents and school districts at a time when our students were most vulnerable. The platform partners with school districts to offer its platform that connects students with licensed therapists who develop custom programs to address and treat a student’s developmental and behavioral needs. In addition to the clinical aspect, HelloHero also handles payments, insurance, compliance and billing, reducing the administrative burden on the districts. Therapy services are also offered directly to families. Bringing therapy into the home has the added benefit of involving the parents and teaching them strategies to manage their children’s behavior and treatment, which have been shown to produce better long-term outcomes.
AlleyWatch caught up with HelloHero CEO and founder Syed Mohammed to learn more about how his personal experience with behavior therapy inspired the company, the company’s strategic plans, the recent round of funding, bringing total funding to $9.1 million, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
HelloHero has raised $7.7 million led by Silverton Partners with the participation of Correlation Enterprises, Reach partners, and Service provider Capital New England Fund.
Tell us about the product or service that HelloHero offers:
HelloHero offers comprehensive online therapies and wellness services for children. Since its launch in 2018, HelloHero has been offering virtual therapy through its own digital platform. The company has focused on personalized care to meet a child’s specific needs by attracting the best therapists, using technology to continuously deliver quality therapy, and reducing payment friction between payers and insurance companies.
What inspired the start of HelloHero?
I struggled with dyslexia as a child, but was not diagnosed until adulthood. After receiving therapy as an adult, I focused on establishing a teletherapy program that is offered through schools or directly to families.
How is HelloHero different?
HelloHero is a pediatric services company built on the principles of value-based healthcare. Our core mission is to improve outcomes and reduce the overall cost of child health care.
Unlike other therapy and mental health providers, HelloHero builds a values-based healthcare framework that focuses on restructuring healthcare systems with the overarching goal of ensuring patients receive the most value. Value is defined as health outcomes per unit of cost, with an emphasis on delivering quality over quantity.
What market is HelloHero targeting and how big is it?
HelloHero’s direct market is K-12 schools, a market valued at over $160 million a year. HelloHero is also expanding its direct-to-family services to reach a much wider audience as it scales its platform.
What is your business model?
HelloHero’s pricing model is based on collecting health care expenses through the school district, Medicaid, or private health insurance. All services are billed per session. HelloHero provides flexible cost sharing for healthcare services with the ability to bill the school district Medicaid or private insurance companies.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
HelloHero is a remote business with team members across the country.
What was the financing process like?
Given our traction, the financing process was quite fast. The funding process was further accelerated by the round’s lead investor, Silverton Partners.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in raising capital?
Time pressure in raising capital was our biggest challenge. An additional challenge was finding the right partners who can not only bring in capital, but also have the ability to strategically help grow the business.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The clear need and demand for the services and different payment options for those services and the size of the market, combined with our growth trajectory over the past year.
What are the milestones you want to achieve in the next six months?
HelloHero works diligently to recruit other leadership members into Human Resources, Marketing and Accounting. We are also working to create additional payer relationships with Medicaid and private insurance companies in an additional 2-3 states over the next 6 months.
Where do you see the company going in the short term?
We plan to increase patient numbers and further improve technology to help therapists deliver quality care to our clients; which also reduces delivery costs. The advancement of technology allows the therapists to focus on quality care for the child.
What is your favorite outdoor restaurant in NYC?
I don’t currently have a favorite outdoor restaurant, but I thoroughly enjoy sitting on the Astoria/Long Island City waterfront with my wife overlooking the Manhattan skyline eating my favorite homemade sandwich.