Parent-led autism therapy provider Forta clinches $55M to expand practice, AI research

Forta, a family-powered autism therapy startup, has raised $55 million in a series A round. 

The round was led by Insight Partners with participation from Exor Ventures and Alumni Ventures, plus founders of 23&Me, Curative, Forward, Flexport, Warby Parker, Prelude Fertility, Harry’s and Allbirds.

Forta plans to use the infusion of capital to expand its applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy practice and develop its suite of clinical algorithms.

Growth in autism and intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) services is at an all-time high. The overall growth in services has been driven by a simultaneous increase in prevalence rates and demand for services. Wait times are increasing while the U.S. faces a shortage of clinicians. Stakeholders are turning to technology in the hopes of easing some of these concerns. 

Forta’s primary focus is improving access to therapy for those with autism spectrum disorder using its algorithm paired with parent-led ABA therapy. Interested parents must complete a free 50-hour training course, pass a competency assessment and depending on their state and plan, be certified as a behavior technician. From there, parents develop and implement a therapy plan for their child. Forta will provide hourly compensation for ongoing structured learning time with the child, per its website. The time commitment is at least 20 hours a week.

"Our current healthcare system is not able to provide dependable and quality care to families when they need it,” Ritankar Das, cofounder and CEO of Forta, said in a press release. "We started by applying our platform to autism therapy because many families face years of waiting for care. Now, we are exploring how to expand the empowered home caregiver model to memory care and other chronic conditions."

Parents in 45 states are currently eligible to take advantage of Forta’s program. The goal of this therapy is to reduce tantrums, improve communication and help achieve a child’s development goals. Within months of launching the program, Forta has supported hundreds of kids with autism spectrum disorder and their families nationwide. 

A peer-reviewed study analyzing the effectiveness of the Forta model found that among 25 pediatric patients, three-quarters saw an improvement in therapy goal achievement using it. Forta launched in 2022, per the company's LinkedIn profile.

Forta is working with seven large payers and more than two dozen state government programs to bring its tech to clients.

"Children's zip codes or parents' income shouldn't determine access to proven therapy,” Scott Barclay, managing director at Insight Partners, said in a press release. "At Insight, our computational care thesis aspires to serve founders creating scalable solutions—like Forta's—born out of deeply rooted empathy. We are proud to back Forta's researchers as they continue this important work."