Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeHealthPediatric teletherapy company DotCom Therapy acquires parent support app Wolf+Friends

Pediatric teletherapy company DotCom Therapy acquires parent support app Wolf+Friends



Pediatric teletherapy company DotCom Therapy announced Wednesday it has acquired Wolf+Friends, a support app for parents of children with special needs, mental health concerns and learning disabilities.

This marks DotCom’s first acquisition since it was founded in 2015. As part of the deal, Wolf+Friends’ community app will relaunch this summer to include support groups facilitated by DotCom’s mental health professionals as well as educational content and expert Q&As.

Wolf+Friends cofounder Gena Mann told MobiHealthNews the company was considering another funding round in early 2020 but was sidelined by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of remote learning and managing the business from home, Mann and cofounder Carissa Tozzi decided to look for someone to acquire the community. 

“So, we managed that as long as we possibly could until we really got to the point where we felt like we couldn’t grow the business in the way that we wanted to in order to serve the community properly,” Mann said. 

“We reached out on our Instagram to our community out there to say, ‘We really want to keep this going. But we’re unable to do it ourselves.’ We were so excited when DotCom responded and wanted to take over.”

WHY IT MATTERS

DotCom founder and President Rachel Mack Robinson said the updated app will be more user friendly and allow parents to connect with mental health professionals as well as their peers. 

“I think there’s a lot of information overload out there. And really what was important for us when we’re rebranding, relaunching this community is keeping it neutral, keeping it fact-first, making sure we have professional voices mixed in with parents and caregivers that have that first-hand experience,” she said. 

THE LARGER TREND

A number of startups are in the pediatric mental health space, including Parallel Learning, which recently raised a $20 million Series A, and Brightline, which launched a virtual coaching program for parents of children with autism in April. 

Mental health benefits provider Spring Health recently expanded into family support with the acquisition of Weldon, which offers guidance to parents through chats with therapists, social workers and parenting coaches as well as group support with other parents and educational content.

Children’s mental health has been a growing concern, particularly during the pandemic. According to a study published earlier this year in JAMA Pediatrics, children showed an increase in anxiety and depression between 2016 and 2020. Caregivers also noted a decline in their mental health and their ability to cope with the demands of parenting. 

“We’re definitely seeing more requests for services. We’re seeing more requests just for education for parents and for teachers on how they can better support kids that are struggling with their mental health and how they can better identify it,” Robinson said. “I think [these are] positive changes where the stigma has been reduced, and people are really trying to be solution-oriented.”

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