A Guide to SonderMind

 

SonderMind (sondermind.com)

What is the company? How much have they raised to date?

Sondermind is a mental health company founded in 2015 by providing in-person and virtual therapy. Sondermind does accept many forms of insurance. SonderMind has raised more than $180 million dollars and last raised a round of $150 million in Summer of 2021.

What's their mission? 
Sondermind is on a mission to redesign behavioral healthcare by improving, access, utilization, and outcomes. They have six core values which are bucketworthiness, empathy, transparency, courage, ownership, and passion.

Who founded the company? Are their clinicians on the executive team? 
Sondermind was co-founded by Mark Frank and Sean Boyd. Mark Frank has a long career in healthcare and finance. Prior to founding SonderMind, Mark was a partner at an investment firm, co-founder of SafeImageMD which helped healthcare securely store and share medical imaging data, and founded Next Oncology and Term Scout. Mark was also a Captain in the US Army. Sean Boyd cofounded SonderMind alongside Mark but quickly went on to found Humanly in 2017. Sean was Sondermind’s first CEO. Sean was a counselor in the state of Colorado before eventually serving as Executive Director of the Colorado Counseling Association.

SonderMind's top mental health clinician is Chief Medical Officer and psychiatrist Douglas Newton. SonderMind's Director of Clinical strategy is Wendy Rasmussen PhD. who is a former Clinical Psychologist in the US Navy.

What's the business model? How does this company make money?  
SonderMind’s pricing depends for clients because they fortunately accept insurance. They’re also an EAP service so some employees may get a limited number of sessions for no cost.

What does one get for paying that price? 
SonderMind asks you some matching questions and then pairs you with a therapist in 24-48 hours. According to their site, many clients see improvements in as little as six sessions. SonderMind is also slightly unique this mental health startup space as they provide in-person services as well.

What is the cancellation policy? 
SonderMind is not a subscription service and thus their cancellation policy for appointments is at least 24 hours of notice.

If applicable, what are the pay/benefits for therapists? 
SonderMind therapists appear to be 1099 based on the fact there are zero minimum requirements for client volume. SonderMind does pay identical rates for in person vs virtual sessions. SonderMind therapists also get access to SonderMind’s suite of software tools. According to a therapist in Colorado on Indeed, thanks to their recent pay bump a therapist can make 6 figures seeing 22 clients per week. There are some qualms about technical frustrations but it appears to be a case-by-case basis and not a widespread issue.

The Review 
SonderMind appears to be branding themselves more as a hybrid practice than a strictly virtual mental health startup. The arrangements with therapists are more like BetterHelp or Talkspace (1099)  than a Lifestance (W2). According to reviews by therapists, many are very happy with the pay; however, some seem to have trouble getting referrals. The fact that the pay is the same for in-person or virtual sessions is great to see. They don’t force clinicians to work a higher number of hours to earn more than some other organizations. SonderMind doesn’t guarantee clinicians will actually be a match for clients. When it comes to privacy, SonderMind is providing therapy and they’re legally required to be HIPAA compliant. They very clearly state on their site that no virtual sessions are recorded. When it comes to tracking site usage, SonderMind does use Facebook Pixel both on its marketing website and even during the matchmaking survey questions. Facebook automatically detects each button selection during the process such as your location, why you’re seeking therapy, and more. They promise in their privacy to never sell your health information. Overall, SonderMind appears to have things pretty in order which could be a reason for their growing popularity among therapists. However, their app store reviews tell a different story. There are a number of disgruntled patients sharing stories of technical and billing frustrations. The app has a 2.1 rating out of 5 with a number of complaints about their customer support. 

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