Why We Invested in Blueprint: Beautiful Software for Beautiful Mysteries
December 9, 2020
Mental health is a silent killer. More than 55M Americans experience a mental health disorder annually, more than diabetes and cancer combined. Unfortunately, less than 50% of those with mental illness receive any treatment. These disorders cost the US more than $210 billion per year in lost productivity and direct healthcare costs.
I have personal family experience with depression and, as an operator who some might view as “always having an answer,” I have struggled mightily to provide the level of support/assistance to those afflicted. There is no simple fix-it and cure - it’s a long process, often rife with subjective assessments from both patients and clinicians.
Dr. Reverend Sam Wells so poignantly explains how best we should view mental health - as a mystery, rather than a problem in order to best address it:
What is it about mental distress that makes it such a taboo – that associates it with not coping and needing to pull oneself together? The philosopher Gabriel Marcel distinguishes between a problem and a mystery. A problem’s generic – you’ve seen lots of them before, like a broken window or a software glitch. A technician can fix it and there’s a fairly straightforward solution. A mystery’s unique – it’s one of a kind. You’ve never encountered it before, it has multiple origins, and you can’t understand it from the outside. You need to bring your whole life-experience to enter it. Often it’s the flip side of something good and wonderful.
Mental health is often treated like a problem but I wonder if it might be better understood as a mystery. The mind is a physical thing – but it’s not like a leg or a ribcage. Its trials are seldom ones that medicine alone can fix. Such struggles are unique to each person’s story and circumstances. Perhaps it’s helpful to reconsider most of the world’s travails as mysteries rather than problems.
Mental illness can seldom just be fixed once and for all. The language of problem and solution can ironically be part of the problem. Amidst multiple policy and community strategies, we need patience and endurance, and a sense of awe and discovery if we’re to enter the mystery of our own mind.
Danny Freed, the CEO of Blueprint, knows this mystery all too well.
In August of 2013, he lost one of his best friends to Bipolar disorder. This tragedy spurred Danny to study mental health closely while he thrived in roles at Trunk Club in product design and front-end engineering. For Danny, addressing the widening gap between the surge in mental health issues and the inadequate systems and approaches to provide better care was too hard to resist. So he started Blueprint to provide a platform for data-driven care to drive better mental health outcomes for all.
Danny and the team at Blueprint have delivered results in a few short years that would be impressive for a much larger company. They have built a beautifully designed platform for mental health clinics and their patients that provides data-driven insights at the point of care. Their product replaces the age-old paper-based assessment process that patients rarely completed, and clinicians could rarely review effectively. It is mobile-friendly, super intuitive, and automatically collects data from patients before, during, and after appointments. Most importantly, this allows patients to easily see how they are progressing through what is an often up and down process where hope may be ephemeral. For clinicians, the insights are invaluable (i.e., which treatments patients respond to, which symptoms are most prevalent over time, etc.) and help inform their care decisions.
For clinics, Blueprint manages the entire insurance claim reimbursement process and delivers on average of $10 per assessment per patient back to the clinics - which becomes quite a new and tidy revenue stream. In fact, clinics pay Blueprint very little upfront to use the software today, minimizing new client acquisition friction dramatically. Blueprint makes money when a clinic makes more money, which only happens when patients receive better care.
When we met Danny, we were immediately intrigued by the double impact nature of what Blueprint was tackling. We were also drawn to his personal story and their software's beautiful design and, admittedly, their pitch deck :). We were onboard 100% with the need to build an amazing end-to-end mental healthcare platform for clinics to manage the pre-intake to post-treatment process.
Blueprint’s customer traction cut short our normal evaluation time by 75%. In less than a year since launch, Blueprint had over 50 clinics across 23 states with 50% eligible patients using the Blueprint platform. More importantly, patients were highly engaged with the platform, actively sharing data on average 10 times per month - which to us meant the patients found Blueprint to be a useful helper on their arduous journey to better health.
We moved so quickly that we almost scared Danny and the team away. He told us,” hey, I hardly know you. How can you move so fast to a term sheet? Perhaps I’m better off just sticking with the options I have from my insiders.” In fact, he turned us down once.
As we explained to him, as seed-stage investors, sometimes you just know:
- A large societal health issue - check.
- Billions of dollars in play - check.
- A beautiful product that provides both rational and emotional value to its users on both sides - check.
- An inspired founder who accomplishes so much with so little - check.
We couldn’t be more proud to partner with Danny and the Blueprint team on their mission to help unravel a bit of the mystery that is mental illness that afflicts so many.