By Marcella McCarthy
By Marcella McCarthy / Guest Contributor
While Coronavirus ravishes through the country and leaves millions unemployed, some startups are struggling to stay afloat, but for a select few, the pandemic has helped their businesses flourish. So is the case for Anna Lindow, CEO, and co-founder of Miami-based Brave Health (Brave), an online “virtual clinic” that offers telemedicine for mental healthcare throughout Florida.
Lindow became interested in entrepreneurship and growing companies while working at General Assembly (GA) - a New York-based start-up that offers in-person and online classes and workshops around the world to help people advance or change their careers. GA was acquired in 2018 for $412.5 million and had 16 campuses worldwide, but when Lindow joined, they only had 1 campus. She helped grow the business and in the 7 years she was there, she worked her way up to Vice President of Partnerships.
After leaving GA, she started pondering her next steps. “I was thinking of doing something on my own, and that’s one of the reasons I moved here [Florida],” Lindow said, citing that the cost of living gave her a lot more runway than NYC.
Lindow partnered with the current CEO and co-founder of GA, Jake Schwartz, and launched Brave Health in 2017. Schwartz is chairman.
The medical side
Whether you have anxiety, depression or are suffering from addiction, Brave connects you to psychiatrists and psychologists across the state. The volatility and uncertainty that COVID-19 has shed on the U.S. are leading some in the medical field to predict that mental illness is T-d up to be the next pandemic. While some people who suffer from mental health issues are being forced to experiment with telemental health for the first time, it’s not a new service and research shows it’s just as effective as in-person treatment.
A 2013 study on the effectiveness of telemental health published in the Telemedicine Journal and e-Health, found that, “Telemental health is effective for diagnosis and assessment across many populations (adult, child, geriatric, and ethnic) and for disorders in many settings (emergency, home health) and appears to be comparable to in-person care.”
Lindow, who dons a B.A. from Columbia University and a graduate certificate from the University of Florida in addiction prevention and treatment, has always had a passion for mental healthcare. “I received excellent mental healthcare when I was younger, so I understand the value [of the service],” she said, while also describing herself as a social entrepreneur who is interested in working on projects that provide a service to the community.
“One of the benefits of being a virtual mental healthcare company is that we can access a broader range of providers and patients across the state,” Lindow said. As a result, Brave is also able to offer group therapy in areas where there might not be a critical mass in one city alone. An example she gave, was a group of women who suffer from postpartum depression. “They are all going through the same thing and can benefit from support from one another,” she said, “but they are all spread out across the state.”
Lindow’s mission with Brave has been to expand access to mental healthcare, and during the pandemic, she feels fortunate to be in a position to help others. “We’re here to help in times of crisis, but we’re also here to help after,” Lindow said.
Tagline: Brave Health is on a mission to make high quality, affordable behavioral health care accessible.
Growth: 67% month over month (February to March 2020)
Recent Milestone: Expanding to serve new plans and populations including Florida Blue members and adolescents.
Financing: Bootstrapped and a seed round in 2018. Amount undisclosed. Raising a Series A within the next year.
Target Market: Anyone 13+ who can benefit from outpatient care for mental health and/or addiction.
Business Model: A virtual outpatient clinic that works closely with insurance carriers and accepts almost all insurance.
What’s ahead: Launching in new states, expanding in Florida, working more with adolescents and the Medicare population.
How can the community help? "We're always looking to meet other providers who offer complementary services, like primary care. We're also hiring behavioral health providers," Lindow said.
Marcella McCarthy is a freelance writer who specializes in healthcare and health-tech. Reach her at email@example.com
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