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SonderMind is a behavioral health company that recently raised a $150M round of funding
Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco speak with Mark Frank, co-founder and CEO of SonderMind, a digital health and telehealth company redesigning behavioral health to become more accessible, approachable, and utilized.
Founded in 2014, the SonderMind platform matches clients and therapists based on criteria such as specialty, availability, location, treatment approaches and insurance. Matches typically happen within in one or two days; after that, it usually takes another day or two for the therapist to reach out to schedule an appointment. That means, in total, a patient will be matched and scheduled in less than a week.
The company has raised $183 million, including a $150 million round of funding in July.
Highlights from the interview:
- The idea for SonderMind originated from Frank's personal experience trying to find a therapist. He wanted to use his insurance benefits, and found it to be very difficult to navigate, with rescheduling appointments, dealing with co-pays and contacting therapists in between sessions proving to be very difficult.
- The other impetus for SonderMind came from the experiences of Frank's sister, who is a licensed professional counselor. She struggled with branching out into private practice, encountering problems with everything from setting up the practice to how to run it to how to manage the finances. The company was built to be an experience for both the client and the therapist.
- SonderMind has a platform for matching therapists and patients, but that's only a component of what the company does: it has a suite of applications that generate a lot of data, which can be used to give the therapists information about how their clients are doing so they can improve care and patient mental health outcomes.
- SonderMind is not a telehealth company; prior to COVID, almost all of the care it delivered was in-person. During COVID, a lot of providers gave up their leases, so right now about 65% of SonderMind's providers have office space and the ability to see a client in person.
- The company doesn't match people across state lines, or even in a different city; if they're in Dallas, it's not going to match them with a therapist who's in El Paso, for example, unless they only want to do video therapy, because it's unlikely they're going to drive to see that therapist in person.
- The criteria for matching therapists to patients changes on a fairly frequent basis, about every week. It does this to hone in on what leads to the best clinical outcomes. The goal is to provide the best possible clinical care and to make them healthier.
- The company will soon be launching a new version of its client app, which will have even deeper engagement, including features like mood tracking with analytics behind it, both for the therapists and patients. It will also be doing more clinically oriented content.
- Right now, over 90% of patients who are matched to a therapist see the same therapist for a second session, and 85% do a third session, much higher than the average.
- In 10 years, Frank believes that we'll look back on what we're doing today in mental health and think of how quaint it is. It will be similar to the marketing industry looking back on how it was done in the 90s, which was by using surveys. SonderMind is all about collecting the appropriate data to drive to the right clinical outcomes, and Frank hopes that other companies follow its lead in focusing on clinical outcomes.
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