InStride Health gets $30M investment

By Catherine Robertson Souter
July 5th, 2024
(From left to right): John Voith, CEO and co-founder; Mona Potter, M.D., chief medical officer and co-founder; James McElhiney, chief technical officer and co-founder; and Kathryn Boger, Ph.D., chief clinical officer and co-founder.
(From left to right): John Voith, CEO and co-founder; Mona Potter, M.D., chief medical officer and co-founder; James McElhiney, chief technical officer and co-founder; and Kathryn Boger, Ph.D., chief clinical officer and co-founder.

One area of focus is Maine

Two years after its launch, startup pediatric mental health company, InStride Health, announced the closing of a $30 million funding round. The money, raised from healthcare investors, will be used primarily towards research and development initiatives, said co-founder Kathryn Boger, Ph.D., with a goal of ensuring that the company maintains clinical quality as it expands.

“The $30M investment in the company comes from healthcare investors who have a deep understanding of and appreciation for clinical quality in achieving a company’s mission and in producing a meaningful return on investment,” said Boger, who co-founded the company along with former McLean Hospital colleague Mona Potter, M.D., John Voith, CEO and James McElhiney, CTO.

The investment will help the company build out protocols and refine curriculum, Boger added, to keep the focus on maintaining a high level of consistency in training and delivering services.

“The $30M investment in the company comes from healthcare investors who have a deep understanding of and appreciation for clinical quality in achieving a company's mission and in producing a meaningful return on investment.” Kathryn Boger, Ph.D., co-founder, InStride Health

A company designed to deliver treatment to every child who needs it, InStride was founded by Boger and Potter to bring the model they created as part of McLean’s Anxiety Mastery Program to a wider audience.

“The clinical model was built over nearly a decade,” said Boger, “and was spun out of McLean to form InStride.” McLean supported the launch, with its senior leadership serving as advisors. Mass General Brigham, McLean’s parent company, is also an investor.

The goal for the company, in working with children, teens and young adults (ages 7-22) with anxiety and OCD, is to eventually expand to all 50 states at a time when the numbers of young people dealing with mental health issues has exploded. Currently, they provide care in eight states and employ just under 200 staff members.

“We’ve talked with so many families over the years whose children were sitting on long waitlists, waiting for care as their symptoms got worse,” said Boger. “We have also talked with families who made big sacrifices, like paying exorbitant fees and driving long distances, to secure mental health care for their children.”

In many cases, she added, the situations did not improve for the children, making the costs feel even more extreme, especially when insurance would not cover it.

“When their children didn’t get relief, they feared there was something wrong with them,” said Boger. “In reality, they just were not in the right treatment. Finding treatment that is backed by research and that is accessible through insurance is almost impossible. We started InStride so we could change that.”

With a completely remote platform and working to include insurance coverage, the care is designed to be able to reach all corners and social-demographic levels of the U.S. Each client works with a three-person team of therapist, psychiatrist, and exposure coach who is available via texting in between sessions. The model is systems-based, working with the child or young adult directly but also with his school, medical team, and family.

“We work with the systems in which they operate, to create a ‘surround sound’ experience so that the child is getting similar messages across the board,” said Boger. “There is nothing more confusing than having a therapist say one thing and the family or school taking a different approach. Parenting a kid with anxiety can be counterintuitive when our instincts tell us to protect our kids. With anxiety or OCD, we want to encourage kids to sit with the stress, to take brave steps forward and to not avoid the feelings.”

So far, results have been promising, according to Boger, with demonstrable reductions for clients in areas of anxiety, depression, and functional impairment. It is an effect that spreads to parents and caregivers.

“This means that, not only are kids, teens, and young adults getting their lives back as a result of this treatment,” she said, “but the family environment is shifting in important ways to support ongoing positive change.”

The financing raised will help the company to expand treatment. One area they hope to focus on with this cycle is Maine, by expanding into new communities and partnering with local entities there.

“We very deliberately expand into new communities,” said Boger. ” Our recent investment will allow us to add to our employee base in Maine…informed by our local partners, cross-state licensure planning, and ongoing needs related to maintaining clinical quality.

Manuela Villa, Ph.D., a referring clinician from Boston Children’s Hospital has worked with the team at InStride since its inception and appreciates the model they are using.

“I have referred many patients to the InStride team because they truly go above and beyond to ensure that all aspects of patient care are addressed, and their unique approach results in excellent patient outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction,” she said.

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