Motivo Health secures $14M, easing pipeline for mental health professionals

Motivo Health has obtained $14 million in series A funding to meet the rising demand for mental health professionals by streamlining licensure.

The most recent round of fundraising led by Cox Enterprises with contributions from SteelSky Ventures and Great Oaks Venture Capital leaves the app’s total funding at $16.3 million. Motivo is the first of its kind facilitating the connection between mental health therapists and clinical supervisors as the demand for licensed therapists outpaces supply, according to the company.

Motivo connects those who have received their degree with licensed therapists to complete the required two to four years of consultation hours. To date, the platform has aided over 2,500 therapists in obtaining licensure.

"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 at 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, founder and CEO Rachel McCrickard deeply understands the pain points that exist for therapists, and her solution addresses their most critical needs, with a focus on access and affordability.”  

According to licensure bodies, 64% of those who have received their master’s degrees never go on to complete the required clinical supervision required. In states that still require hours to be completed partially in person, the app establishes both in-person and virtual connections.

Following COVID-19 lockdowns, states temporarily allowed counseling and supervision hours be delivered virtually via encrypted, HIPAA-approved video streaming services. Now, many states are looking to make those changes permanent.

As of Aug. 22, the California House and Senate approved California Assembly Bill 1758 turning a COVID-era executive order into law and allowing remote supervision in all settings. The move to a mental health virtual space has created an addressable market of $173 billion, according to Motivo. Beyond eliminating potential COVID exposure, McCrickard says the app connects therapists previously isolated due to specialty or geographic location.

“I think that prior to these rules being changed, you still were limited by how many supervisors in your area fell into your specialty area,” McCrickard said in an interview. “So maybe you wanted to work specifically with LGBTQ populations, if you didn't have a supervisor in your hometown that specialized in that area, it limited your learning opportunity to be able to learn from a professional in the field who knew that specific specialty.”

As the stigma against mental health support wanes, McCrickard said Motivo can assist communities oftentimes left untreated or undertreated. She sees the app as aiding in the creation of a new generation of health care services providing culturally competent therapeutic support, such as Hurdle Health, which connects BIPOC therapists and clients. With 74% of platform users living in mental health professional shortage areas, she believes more licensed clinicians can be generated in the parts of the country that need them most.

“And I would say Motivo extends that same philosophy to the supervision perspective,” McCrickard said. “It’s also important in your training, in your supervision, as you're getting started as a professional to be getting the right kind of training and expertise from a supervisor who really understands the type of population that you want to work with.”

McCrickard said that whatever is lost in supervision hours going virtual pales in comparison to the large swaths of the country previously left untreated.