Coming off a year of nearly 4,000 percent growth, Regroup Therapy just raised a $6M Series A

Regroup Therapy has had a whirlwind of a year.

The Chicago-based startup, which uses video technology to deliver mental health services to underserved areas, announced on Thursday that it has raised a $6 million Series A round of funding led by OSF Ventures.

Regroup Therapy, which raised a $1.8 million seed round last spring, has seen its annual recurring revenues grow by nearly 4,000 percent over the past year.

“We were aiming for half a million dollars annual revenues last year, but we’re on track to book more than $4 million,” said founder and CEO David Cohn. “Our seed funding allowed us to invest in more people. When we got away from trying to do three or four times more than is humanly possible, we discovered that our processes were actually really good — we just needed more people out there.”

Although he is excited about his company’s growth, Cohn said Regroup Therapy’s primary focus remains on its mission to improve access to mental health care services.

“The big issue we’re trying to solve is that there’s a real shortage of mental health providers in the right place at the right time,” said Cohn. “We want to make sure we can get the right clinicians to the right patients faster, and with a higher quality.”

Regroup Therapy does so by hiring psychiatrists, advanced psychiatric nurses, therapists and social workers who deliver mental health services through its HIPAA-compliant video platform. These behavioral health experts serve as a virtual staff for healthcare providers who don’t have those resources available locally.

Cohn said appointments are currently delivered by a mixture of part-time contractors and full-time employees, but that the percentage of full-time employees has steadily grown alongside the demand for the company’s services.

Cohn said expansion beyond traditional healthcare systems and into new underserved settings like correctional facilities and Native American healthcare services have been a major catalyst for Regroup Therapy’s growth.

“We feel like we’re still barely scratching the surface, and that a lot of people are still struggling to get access to good services,” he said. “That’s horrible for those people and their families, but it’s also really bad for the economy. And we believe this is the best way to solve that problem.”

With 15 full-time employees to date, Cohn expects to double his company’s headcount this year. The bulk of hiring will be in sales and business development, but the company will also be hiring software engineers, physicians, physician recruiters and account managers.

Lead investor OSF Ventures is part of the OSF HealthCare system. Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, HLM Venture Partners, Furthur Fund and Impact Engine also participated in the round.

Solovis Raises $8M to Accelerate Growth

DALLASMay 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Solovis, a multi-asset class portfolio management, analytics and reporting platform for limited partners and asset allocators, today announced it has raised $8 million in a Series A round. The funding was led by Edison Partners, a leading growth equity capital firm based in Princeton, NJ. Previous investors MissionOG, OCA Ventures, Timberline Ventures, Northwestern University, and Backstop Solutions co-founder Jeremie Bacon also participated. Joining the consortium this round is Cultivation Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in technology and life sciences, with several partners who have worked in investment management technology.

“During the last year, Solovis has experienced 300 percent growth with top-tier endowments, foundations, and family offices adopting its platform, helping to establish the company as the emerging industry standard for multi-asset class managers,” says Tom Vander Schaaff, General Partner, who led the investment for Edison. “We are impressed by Solovis’ rapid growth, deep roster of marquee customers, and its market leadership position. The financing will allow Solovis to continue to expand its solutions and magnify its significant impact on the industry,” he added.

Solovis provides a holistic, open architecture approach to multi-asset class portfolio management. Built by industry practitioners with extensive experience in private equity, hedge funds, and traditional asset classes, the company offers a flexible, robust platform for performance, exposures, liquidity and cash flow forecasting with front-to-back office integration, eliminating multiple system solutions and error-prone spreadsheets. “When you speak with Solovis, you can immediately tell they have been in your seat and speak your language. The system was built from the bottom-up to specifically address the challenges of multi-asset class investing. That made all the difference in the world to us and has been invaluable in synthesizing disparate data efficiently,” says Brandon Pevnick of the JFMC Pooled Endowment Portfolio.

With this Series A financing, Solovis will significantly expand its team in Dallas, TX and Charlottesville, VA, as well as establish a presence in New York, NY and San Francisco, CA. “This round will deepen and expand our Dynamic Forecasting suite and strengthen our ability to address the growing demand for our Analyst Services, a big differentiator for us in the marketplace cementing Solovis’ position as a strategic partner for limited partner and asset allocators,” says Solovis co-founder and CEO Josh Smith.

Tenor moves to monetize GIFs with launch of real-time analytics tool and ad product

Tenor is hoping to take advantage of people’s infatuation with animated GIFs by launching two tools that help brands bring their message to the more than 200 million monthly users who search for the right GIF across mobile messaging apps. The company is taking the first steps in monetizing its service with the launch of a real-time analytics tool called Tenor Insights, which will educate marketers on GIF usage and the availability of sponsored GIFs.

After more than three years, Tenor wants to bring in some money, and it believes its approach is unique. What Google offers around intent and Facebook does with social data, Tenor believes it can do around emotion. Its reach is certainly vast, with integrations into FacebookFacebook MessengerTwitteriMessage, and others. But in order to get brands to buy in, it needs to convince them that emotions are worth betting on.

Tenor Insights is similar to the keyword research tool that’s available from Google AdWords. It’ll report the top emotions people are expressing within messages, which can be sorted by time of day, week, or specific event, along with pertinent search terms that brands may be interested in, and insights into how different feelings are tied into GIFs.

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Tenor is banking on the idea that GIFs could result in more sales conversions than sentiment analysis or even a keyword can. When you see a happy dance GIF, it immediately tells you the sender’s state of mind — and perhaps what they’re interested in — whereas if you try to analyze their tweet, post, or message you may be limited to an overall positive or negative sentiment. And a keyword doesn’t necessarily reflect a person’s emotional state.

“The challenge for sentiment is that people aren’t saying things publicly at all,” stated Tenor chief executive David McIntosh in an interview with VentureBeat. Current advertising offerings are looking at the public space, such as social networks and search engines. But with GIFs, Tenor is able to cross into harder to reach areas, such as instant or text messages, and it’s here that valuable intelligence could be gathered. “Our signal is super strong. People are going to Tenor because I’m super upset and want to express that,” he said.

“We’ve never offered analytics before,” McIntosh explained. “We’ve put out data on an ad hoc basis, but now we let any marketer understand insights in what [people are] thinking, and in sheer volume. If you’re a brand, you don’t know where there’s a lot of volume around people saying ‘good morning’ and turning [users] into brand ambassadors.”

Ultimately, where the company could be going is a programmatic sponsored GIF program that lets brands bid for images that suit their campaign. You’ll start to see some of these creative GIFs in the wild, but the feature’s not available through a self-service model. Instead, brands have to work directly with Tenor’s team to implement them. Earlier this year, the company launched a pilot program around the Warner Bros. movie LEGO Batman. The program showed associated GIFs when people searched for terms like “high five,” “whoa,” “let’s go,” “smirk,” “shrug,” “flirty,” and “no.”

Helping lead the charge to develop an emotional graph and increase adoption by brands is Jason Krebs, Tenor’s chief business officer, who joined last month after a tour at Maker Studios as its head of sales. He admits that it’s “too soon to tell whether people will jump head over heels for this new paradigm,” but he said that “brands have a lot of stories to tell” and that GIFs could play an important role in the future.

“For Dominos, when someone searches for ‘best day ever’, [the pizza maker] can sponsor GIFs. It’s about giving marketers an opportunity to help customers express emotion using products they love,” McIntosh said. “With this tool, step one is to help brands understand the volume that’s out there. Most people out there don’t know how many people search ‘good morning’ every month. We want to own the visual language.”

SpotHero snaps up rival Parking Panda to boost its B2B credentials and expand into Canada

 

RedShelf and Ed Map Form Partnership to Provide More Institutions with Affordable eLearning Materials

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–RedShelf, a leader in eLearning content delivery, today announced its partnership with premier content strategy and logistics company, Ed Map. The two companies will integrate their technical solutions to provide Ed Map clients with seamless access to RedShelf’s eReader and catalog of over 380,000 titles, providing learners a robust option for effective and affordable learning materials, including open educational resources (OER).

“The cost of traditional, printed course materials has led many students to choose not to purchase materials at all,” says Greg Fenton, co-founder and CEO for RedShelf. “Our partnership with Ed Map will make it easier than ever for students to access affordable, digital course materials, thereby enabling them to focus on succeeding in class, rather than on the cost of their books.”

RedShelf’s digital offerings will be delivered seamlessly through its centralized academic eReader that will be integrated with Ed Map’s comprehensive OPENVUE® course materials management platform. RedShelf’s end-user offerings — a combination of more affordable textbook options, user-friendly software, and a high-level, responsive customer service team — have attracted the attention of the higher education community, further building momentum for eTextbooks.

“This partnership supports our mission to increase the value of educational content by simplifying its discovery, management and delivery,” notes Kerry S. Pigman, president and COO of Ed Map. “We have many initiatives supporting our mission, including our All-In Model™ (AIM) product where all students are provided content on the first day of class. Since 75% of our clients already access digital content through Ed Map, expanding their ability to discover and access additional robust content will help further enrich the student online learning experience.”

Pigman adds, “Working with RedShelf also enhances CURATE by Ed Map™. CURATE enables the discovery, alignment and selection of multiple types of educational content, including OER and disaggregated content, that support learning outcomes. The Redshelf eReader will facilitate seamless access to course packs, collections and other materials identified by CURATE.

Lucas Roh’s next act is all about big data

Lucas Roh is taking a big step with his newest startup, coming out of stealth mode.

Roh’s new company, Bigstep, launched four years ago in London, is looking to make it easier for companies to tackle big data projects using the cloud. He’s betting that he can help companies make the leap by offering them better security and ease of use than Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Bigstep is launching its product in the United States, opening a data center and office in Chicago, where Roh is based.

Online Lender Ascend Taps VCs, Debt in Tough Market

When Steve Carlson, chief executive of emerging online lender Ascend Consumer Finance Inc., considered fundraising this year, he realized the market wasn’t nearly as receptive as a year ago, when his startup received a $1 million equity seed round.

The sector has been beset by problems this year, including lower demand from debt investors for…

There’s a Brilliant New Way to Pay Less for Your Flights

May 25, 2016

There are probably worse travel planners than me, but I doubt it. I’m a procrastinator, and always fretting that I didn’t find the best deal. So a new feature of airline travel appeals: the option.

Recently, I paid $29 to a company called Options Away to hold a $156 one-way fare from Las Vegas to New York City for two days so I could do some further dithering—I wasn’t sure about my return. If I found a better fare within that period I could simply purchase that ticket and let the option lapse; or I could exercise the option and pay the company $156 for the ticket, which I did, even if the fare went up in the interim. And if the fare decreased, I would get the lower price. “There’s never been a person I’ve spoken to who didn’t say, ‘My goodness I could have used this three weeks ago,’” says Rob Brown a former options trader and Options Away’s co-founder, along with his wife Heidi, another options whiz.

If Tulip mania rings a bell, you likely know that options have been around for centuries. An option is a derivative—that is, its value derives from something else—that gives you the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell. In Holland in 1636, that meant a tulip bulb. Today, a plain-vanilla option is often used to reduce risk—to lock in a price, or a profit, say on commodities such as grain or currencies. Options Away is using a variation to bring price-risk mitigation to travel. The company has signed more than 40 airlines and travel sites Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Hipmunk. Kayak has begun its rollout, too with, starting with American, Alaska and Virgin America flights.

“Anytime you have angst in the market place, you should be able to price that angst in a way that makes money for everybody: that gives both counterparties security,” says Steve Hafner, Kayak’s CEO and co-founder. For me, airline travel equals angst. Purchasing an option works like this: if you spot a flight you like, but aren’t sure about your plans or the price, you can buy time. Most of the options are between $10 and $29, and users can buy up to 30 days to decide. The option price varies depending on travel date, length of the option and the price of the ticket. Some travelers are even doing a bit of arbitrage—buying options for several flights across a couple of acceptable dates, more or less betting that one of the fares will decrease. (Want to play? The meta travel sites make predictions on fare changes.) For most, it’s more about buying time.

When should you buy an option? If you’re one of those annoying types who books well ahead, nails a good price and rarely changes plans, it’s not for you. But the more uncertainty you have about your travel or its cost, the more attractive an option becomes.

The math for airfare options is trickier than for some financial instruments. Unlike say, corn, the price of an airline seat doesn’t move freely in the market. Airlines set and adjust the prices. We, on the other hand, do not behave the way corn does, at least not in an economic sense—our decisionmaking is highly unpredictable. So Options Away’s pricing model has to account for human-based volatility risk and airline-based pricing risk.

To reduce volatility, the idea is to get you to decide sooner than later. That’s why options on airfares may only be the first product offered as the business progresses. Suppose, during the time you are deciding, the airline offered you a special on early check-in or an upgraded seat? And why just airfare? Eventually you might be able to buy an option on the whole works: airfare, hotel car rental—maybe even sporting events. Indeed, Hipmunk offered NFL fans options on flights to Super Bowl host city San Francisco from the cities of the semi-finalists: Denver, Boston, Charlotte, and Phoenix.

Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies Partners with Ed Map to Drive Course Materials Affordability and Access

NELSONVILLE, Ohio, June 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS), in Northfield, VT, has partnered with Ed Map, Inc. to provide its online students with course materials services. This decision is another validation of Ed Map’s ongoing development of its product roadmap and its customer service focus, as well as Ed Map’s pioneering Platform as a Service (PaaS) business model. The College, which provides all online students with course materials by the first day of class, will be utilizing the All-In Model by Ed Map (AIM) product.