We have all seen the headlines about mental health issues which are urgent now. It is not necessary to mention statistical numbers, just simply look at your family solely, we have likely been aware of how drastically daily problems affect the performance and emotion of family members.
In today’s world, people have to cope with countless problems, many of these things just happen out of thin air and tire them out. Noticeably, children are too young to comprehend and address these problems by themselves. Consequently, without support, children ease at getting down, facing anxiety, even leading to impulsive behaviors. Businesses also witness rampant productivity loss and employees leaving the paid workforce in droves
At a time when rates of behavioral health conditions have been skyrocketing across the country, a San Francisco-based startup was founded in 2019 with a view to tackling mental health issues, known as Brightline. The startup developed a technology-enabled behavioral health home for children and their families.
Accordingly, it provides behavioral health therapy with a licensed therapist or psychologist to help kids, teens, and their families in the form of live 1:1 video session. Currently, the clinical care services provided by Brightline, such as behavior therapy, medication support, and speech therapy, are accessible nationally, including in Alaska and Hawaii. It also ranks number 2 on the list of the 10 Most Innovative Health Companies.
A Mom’s Pain Hidden Behind the Founding Story
The tech-based healthcare institution was co-founded by Naomi Allen, a mom of 3, who is a leading entrepreneur in the healthcare industry with over 20 years of hands-on experience developing high-growth healthcare technology companies. The initiative of Brightline was germinated from Allen experiencing the pains of behavioral care for her own family. When her oldest kid was five years old and starting school, he was suffering from severe anxiety. It soon became obvious that he had significant developmental delays, and Allen attempted in vain to find a way to get him care through the educational system. For over a year, she had been trying to find clinicians who could help him and get him assessed.
Hence, when Allen’s former co-founder called and asked her to be involved in the next venture, she was only willing to start a pediatric focused behavioral healthcare company. Allen had a profound experience working at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) while working at Deloitte in their health practice. Her interest in technology was sparked by this position’s introduction to her the basic coding and creation of a functional workplace system. Now, she is embarking on an amazing journey that combines technology and healthcare.
The company’s initial plan was to establish actual brick and mortar clinics that were tech-enabled and had an app for virtual care delivery built in. In April 2020, Allen went on a staycation and took a week off to be with the kids. She informed her staff after returning that she thought COVID would remain in place. Families will be impacted, and behavioral health requirements would significantly increase, according to Naomi Allen.
Brightline’s team observed significant increases in sadness, anxiety, social isolation, and parental isolation as a result of the pandemic’s turbulence at the time, which also led to significantly higher incidences of domestic abuse. The group decided to develop a 100% online care company that supports. Since then, Brightline has no longer been pivoting an early product during a new pandemic, instead, the company implemented an initial strategy which better fits the situation.
Deciphering One of The Highest Customer-centric Startups In The Market
“We know that we can give parents and caregivers a line of sight into the right care for their child. And that we can bring families support when and where they need it most.”— Naomi Allen, Brightline CEO and Co-Founder. Brightline envisions itself as a family-centered, pediatric-focused behavioral health solution. Every Brightline’s move shows its customer centricity, featuring customer satisfaction and children’s well-being.
#1. Investment in Medication Providers Employment
To demonstrate, Brightline looks to employ Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) that can provide diagnostic evaluations and ongoing medication management services who are family-centered, with a warm and engaging clinical style. This is critical in finding quality care, especially for children and teens.
According to different symptoms, there will be different approaches, some cases require additional lab work. In such cases, PMHNP will have a conversation with customers to obtain lab work or any supplements that are beneficial for the patients.
#2. A Business of Parents Leading the Way with Their Love and Passion
Brightline has been formed by a leadership team with passion and enthusiasm for helping kids. Most of them are parents, hence, they really put themselves in the customer’s shoes. The leadership team deeply empathizes with the worry of parents about their children’s development.
Brightline’s Vice President and Head of Therapy once said, “I’m especially passionate about working with kids on the autism spectrum and I am looking forward to expanding Brightline’s programs to provide a full, easy-to-access, and specialized care program to support families with unique challenges.”
Brightline appears to offer a lot of support and ease of accessibility for kids and teens, and their families. As a company, they stand out by not only being able to offer coaching and behavior therapy but also providing them with customer centricity and empathy.
A Bold Move Forward Penetrating LGBTQ+ and Other Identity Crisis
We all need to determine who we are and where we belong in this perplexing world. This process can be daunting for children and teenagers and occasionally even result in difficult feelings and unexpected behaviors. This is particularly true for children and teenagers who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning), or TGNC (Transgender and Gender Nonconforming), given the challenges they encounter in navigating their identity.
Additionally, the pandemic has made LGBTQ and BIPOC youth’s behavioral health needs worse. Recent studies have revealed that BIPOC adolescents have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and 70% of LGBTQ children reported having poor mental health during COVID. Thus, Brightline made the decision to take on this responsibility of introducing care verticals geared toward patients in communities of color and those who identify as LGBTQ+ during that tremendous wave of societal anxiety.
Accordingly, on-demand digital content and virtual coaching programs will be developed to meet the needs of these communities and will be tailored to each family to ensure effective “Expanding our programs to serve youth with ASD and those who identify as LGBTQ and/or BIPOC — driven by our care teams and our Clinical Advisory Board — is a key part of bringing support to families across the country.”, Naomi Allen claimed.
10,000 families are reportedly already using Brightline’s coaching service. All of Brightline’s coaches have received training in LGBTQ+, TGNC, and BIPOC identity difficulties, and the Silicon Valley-based business can impart new knowledge that can assist patients and their families in navigating identity’s ups and downs.
Google Ventures Leads Brightline’s $72M Boost Marking the Company’s Unwavering Drive Forward
The year 2021 saw Brightline announce significant new funding and nationwide expansion, less than a year after introducing the first full virtual behavioral health service created exclusively to serve children, teenagers, and their families. With the participation of new investors Optum Ventures, 7wireVentures, and Gaingels, the top venture investment syndicate in support of diversity and representing the LGBTQ community and allies, GV (formerly Google Ventures) leads Brightline’s preemptive $72M Series B round.
Silicon Valley Bank has contributed $7 million in venture debt to the round. To date, Brightline has successfully raised about $212 million in funding. “We are fortunate to have incredible partners in GV and all of our investors who joined us to make a difference in the lives of children and families. The latest funding will allow us to innovate even more quickly, expand rapidly, and help more children and families get the care they deserve.” – Naomi Allen in a statement
By partnering with top national companies and significant health plans to provide mental health support to families, Brightline will use the cash infusion to scale its virtual care throughout the nation and fuel the company’s expansion. “CDC data shows that an estimated 1 in 5 U.S. children has a diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition—yet 80% will not get the care they need. Pediatric behavioral health care is often less accessible and comprehensive than care for adults,” said Ben Robbins, psychiatrist and venture partner at GV who is joining Brightline’s board of directors.
The Company Limitations That May Lead People to Find Alternatives to Brightline Health
Brightline aims at offering pediatric-focused behavioral health solutions, being a one-stop shop for in-house service with its customers as center of the startup’s delivery. However, there are still some limitations at Brightline which customers should be aware of when experiencing the business services.
First of all, Brightline provides behavioral health and therapy services to children aged 6 to 17. If patients are close to turning 18, they should start their road toward better mental health with organizations that are geared towards young adults. If patients intend to attend college, the majority of colleges provide treatment and counseling on-site for free or at a minimal cost. This might be a better option.
Second, while Brightline provides counselling and coaching services to people all over the country, at the time of writing, Brightline is unable to give medication help to anyone living in Iowa or New Hampshire owing to license restrictions. It may be preferable to seek assistance from someone certified in the customers’ state if they think their child needs medication help and they currently reside in Iowa or New Hampshire.
Thirdly, it is typical that most private practices and even online services aren’t meant to be utilized as high-risk support or 24/7 crisis hotlines. Instead, people should call 911, go to the closest emergency room, or get in touch with one of the following national resources if the patient is in trouble.
Currently, Brightline does not accept insurance, but in order to enhance accessibility, they do provide programs for businesses, consultants, and different health plans. Additionally, Brightline offers families a Care Navigator team to assist with navigating insurance and filing a claim for reimbursement.
Brightline continues to grow impressively, as stated on their About Us, “As the need for flexible care grows, Brightline will continue to leverage virtual care to support more and more families across the country. Everything Brightline does is to move families forward to reach their bright future.” Allen wished that she could have started her entrepreneurial journey a few years earlier, although she found it incredibly helpful to work with multiple companies.
A recommendation for whom embarking on startup is that be at a company for at least 2–3 years so you can get a pulse of what’s going on. Naomi Allen also claimed that there is a lot of benefit of working inside a couple of startups first to understand what to avoid, what not to avoid, learn how think about fundraising and how to build your team, while building a network within a growing startup.
The story of Brightline has let us ponder more about the role of startups, it is not just about starting a business and profit, it is all about figuring out the social pain and putting efforts to solve. All things considered, I hope to see Brightline achieve an unwavering drive forward and continue to bring values to society.