Fast-Growing Psychiatry Startup Talkiatry Raises $5M, Eyes National Expansion Via Collaborative Care

Talkiatry — an in-network psychiatric care provider — has raised $5 million in Series A funding to expand and improve its unique technology-driven model centered on providers, the company announced Tuesday. Eventually, its goal is to achieve national scale using collaborative care. 

Sikwoo Capital Partners led the recent investment round, with additional participation from Relevance Ventures and Richard Park, the founder and former CEO of CityMD, according to a press release announcing the news.

Based in New York City, Talkiatry was founded in April 2020 with the goal of solving psychiatrists’ common problems while meeting the needs of insurance companies. As a result, all of Talkiatry’s in-person and telehealth services are in-network, which is somewhat of a rarity in the behavioral health industry. 

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“Ultimately what our platform is doing is saving the insurance companies money,” Talkiatry co-founder and CEO Robert Krayn told Behavioral Health Business. “We believe that if we solve the issues for an insurance company and we solve the issues for the provider, we will ultimately be able to solve the issues of a patient.”

On the back end, Talkiatry — which has raised a total of $6 million to date — also has proprietary technology to measure results, data sets and more.

While the company is currently only serving patients based in and around New York City, Krayn said he and his co-founder Georgia Gaveras, the company’s chief psychiatrist, have plans to expand nationally using collaborative care.

“We could get our providers licensed [in additional states], but we prefer to expand nationally through the collaborative care model,” Krayn said. “[It] will allow us to use our expertise and our psychiatrists to be a resource for primary care physicians who are prescribing most of the psychiatric medications across the country as it is.”

The shortage and uneven distribution of psychiatrists nationwide is one reason Talkiatry is bullish on the model, he said. Another is the fact that integrating behavioral health care into primary settings reduces the overall cost of care.

“Instead of a provider seeing 10 patients in person, some of their time can be spent doing collaborative care, and they’re able to … touch more patients than they would otherwise,” Krayn said. “That helps reduce overall costs of health care from the insurance companies, but also it translates into lower premiums and different things like that.” 

Since its founding in April, Talkiatry has completed 12,000 visits and currently has 16 psychiatrists on staff as W-2 employees. Additionally, it’s in the process of credentialing another eight psychiatrists, with the goal being to have 45 providers by the end of 2021, according to Krayn. 

Other goals include using Talkiatry’s newfound Series A funding to help the company expand its operations and further develop its proprietary technology solution. 

Additionally, Krayn said the Talkiatry aims to equip patients with knowledge and clinical guidance on mental health, even if they aren’t appropriate for the company’s level of care. 

“Some of the technology we’re developing will do a lot of the heavy lifting for that,” he said. “We really want to be the place where psychiatrists can go to practice how they want to practice, … [and] our goal is to assist them so that they can give the best care to a patient.”

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