What's the talk about Talkspace?

 

Talkspace (talkspace.com)

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

Talkspace is a national network of W2 and 1099 mental health providers providing virtual mental health care. While Talkspace does have what’s referred to as a direct to consumer offering, their primary business is working with employers as an employee assistance program. In most EAPs, companies pay a small fee per employee to give employees access to wellness and other offerings. Talkspace raised just over $100 million in its lifetime before going public via SPAC in 2021. Going public helped Talkspace raise an additional $250 million in cash.

What's their mission? 
With much of the B2C market controlled by BetterHelp, Cerebral, and mental wellness apps, Talkspace has made the B2B move of increasing access to mental health resources by partnering with companies to provide Talkspace as an employee benefit.

Who founded the company? Are their clinicians on the executive team? 
Talkspace was founded by the married Oren and Roni Frank in 2012. Before Talkspace, Oren was Chief Creative Officer and writer in the marketing industry. Before Talkspace, Roni was a software developer. Oren went on to be CEO for a while Roni was Head of Clinical Services. Oren is now working on a stealth startup called &Daughters.

Talkspace's Chief Medical Officer is Varun Choudhary who has been an assistant professor at VCU and the National Behavioral Health CMO at Magellan Health.

What's the business model? How does this company make money?  
Talkspace provides services as an EAP which provides employees the benefits of access to Talkspace. Talkspace also offers services directly to consumers and depending on your needs costs $65 to $100 per week. You can currently get $100 with code SPACE on their website.

What does one get for paying that price? 
Talkspace asks you some matching questions and then pairs you with a therapist within 48 hours. Talkspace offers individual, couples, teens, and psychiatry appointments.

What is the cancellation policy? 
Talkspace does not require long-term contracts and you can cancel anytime.

If applicable, what are the pay/benefits for therapists? 
W2 Compensation is not listed but it does come with medical, dental, and vision plans. A 401K with 4% match, PTO and company paid holidays, free access to Talkspace and Lasting products.

1099 Compensation below
Talkspace has their pay listed directly on the site. 
  • 30 minute session: $34.50
  • 45 minute session: $50.93
  • 60 minute session: $67.90
Monthly bonus for long term active clients on caseload for 60+ days
  • 5 - $100
  • 10 - $200
  • 20 - $500
  • 30 - $1,000
  • 40 - $2,000
  • 50 - $2,500
  • 75 - $5,000
Messaging sessions, $24-$26.92 per session. 1099 therapists are not required to maintain a specific caseload. W2 therapists are required to maintain a caseload of at least 30 billable hours per week

The Review 
 Overall Talkspace has increased access to mental health through working with employers to provide a limited number of sessions at no cost to the employee. On the therapist front, multiple reports have come out that Talkspace greatly underpays therapists. They did recently raise compensation 20% for contracted therapists, the new numbers are represented above. Talkspace is currently valued at less than $280 million dollars after going public at a valuation 5 times that amount. In their most recent earnings, Talkspace did acknowledge their gross profit was down due to the higher cost of salaried therapists.

In the privacy policy, Talkspace does say they are both HIPAA and HITECH compliant. The important thing when reviewing mental health platforms that provide actual therapy is the difference between privacy policy and notice of privacy practices. Most often patients and therapists will want to review the notice of privacy practices to see what policies apply to the health information. The current Notice of Privacy Practices doesn’t bring up red flags. There are a couple questions like who is their Business Associates and what research is being conducted with the information; however, both of those are common in Notice of Privacy Practices. Note, a Notice of Privacy Practices, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use are all legal documents so they will all say things like they must do things in accordance with law. These are not red flags. While Talkspace does have Facebook Pixel on their marketing website, it does NOT appear that Pixel is used once you initiate the sign-up or log-in process.

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