Investing in Headway

While we’ve long known that access to mental healthcare pales in comparison to physical healthcare coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted this gap. Despite the increase in prevalence of mental health needs, access to mental health coverage has failed to keep pace. In the U.S., fewer than half of people with mental health illnesses receive any treatment or counseling, with even more pronounced racial disparities in access to care.  

There are a number of reasons for this, including a lack of education around mental health services and the perceived stigma associated with mental health. But in reality, the most cited reason for people not accessing mental healthcare is because of a lack of financial access. That can be directly correlated to the fact that only about 30% of mental health professionals accept insurance. 

Why is that? It’s overly complex, not to mention a timesuck, for most solo practitioners to process claims with insurance providers. And that doesn’t even take into account impacts on their business while waiting on cash reimbursements, at reimbursement rates that have failed to keep pace with the rising costs of delivering care. Given the ballooning demand for accessible, affordable, and quality mental healthcare, it’s clear that there needs to be a technology that solves these challenges for providers so they can expand access. 

Enter Headway – which is doing just that. Headway has created a software platform that seamlessly connects the most important stakeholders in the mental health ecosystem – patients, therapists, and insurance companies. Headway’s platform makes it easy and free for therapists to accept insurance coverage by offering full claims management support, payments, and scheduling. Headway also elevates the patient experience by giving patients the ability to search for therapists who best fit their needs, book appointments directly online, and get visibility into the costs they will be responsible for as part of their treatment. Since its launch in 2019, Headway has enabled over 3,000 mental health professionals to accept insurance and has powered over 300,000 therapy appointments. 

When we first met the team last year, we were struck both by the business model – to focus first on the provider to expand the supply of therapists in a given market – and by the expansive vision of the founding team.  Andrew Adams – with whom I have spent more hours on Zoom with these past four months than anyone I can recall – references consistently as insanely smart, aggressive (in a good way!), and yet introspective and an avid learner.  

Today, we are very excited to announce that we are leading the company’s Series B financing, alongside continued support from Accel, Thrive, and Google Ventures. While the company is operating in eleven states as of today – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington – the proceeds of this financing will be used in large part to help them expand their geographic footprint across the rest of the country and thus put a major dent in the poor state of access to mental health coverage. I’m honored to be joining the company’s board and am thrilled to be partnering with the Headway team to finally make mental healthcare accessible and affordable to everyone. 

 

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