CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Cartwheel, a platform helping schools tackle the student mental health crisis by delivering affordable, evidence-based telehealth services with no waitlist, today announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Menlo Ventures. Reach Capital joined the round, as did earlier investors General Catalyst, BoxGroup and Able Partners. The funding will allow Cartwheel to expand mental health services to hundreds of thousands of new students in current service areas, as well as school districts in new states.
There is an unprecedented mental health crisis among kids and teens. Depression in teens has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and a third of high school girls have seriously considered suicide. Youth today lack access to high-quality care, with symptoms often left untreated for years. As a result of the shortage of mental health providers, limited insurance coverage, and long waits, schools are increasingly expected to take the lead in supporting student mental health.
Founded in 2022, Cartwheel has quickly become a trusted mental health partner to schools. The founding team, which includes Chief Medical Officer, Juliana Chen, MD, a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, had collectively spent decades working in schools and community mental health clinics and felt the need for stronger school-community partnership to improve accessibility, quality, and financial sustainability of mental health care.
Today, when a school district partners with Cartwheel, school counselors can refer students for clinical mental health services with no waitlists. Cartwheel’s in-house team of licensed clinicians delivers evidence-based telehealth services, including 1-1 therapy, group therapy, parent guidance, and medication support – all as an in-network benefit covered by the family’s insurance. Operating year-round, Cartwheel allows students to see a licensed clinician at home or at school and during evenings, weekends, school breaks, and summers.
“As a district, we’re committed to supporting our students’ social-emotional and mental health to set them up for success—in the classroom and in life,” said Kimberly Huffer, Director of Social-Emotional Learning in Cambridge Public Schools. “Cartwheel has been a game-changer for us, allowing our students and families to access evidence-based mental health care quickly. Cartwheel is collaborative and responsive to the needs of our students and families and empowers our social workers to have a true partner in the community.”
Throughout care, Cartwheel works hand-in-hand with school staff and families to ensure the student is appropriately supported. A clinically licensed Program Manager supports school administrators on student cases, parent engagement, and staff training throughout the year; and bilingual Care Coordinators help families with scheduling, insurance, and referrals for additional services. Parents can also schedule weekly guidance sessions with a licensed clinician to discuss ways to support their child, even if their child isn’t interested in therapy themselves. Parents can also join educational workshops on timely mental health topics, ranging from school avoidance to social media use.
“It is incredibly tough to be a kid today, and mental health is a critical issue for our youth and our future. We led this investment in Cartwheel because by working directly with schools, Cartwheel enables earlier intervention, improves student and family engagement throughout care, and supports better coordination among the trusted adults in a student’s life,” said Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures.
“We’ve reached a tipping point in a mental health crisis that is overwhelming parents, schools, and community-based providers,” said Steve Kupfer, Partner at Reach Capital. “Cartwheel’s model recognizes the hands-on support school systems need and the vital role of timely intervention. Through care coordination, parent engagement, and a versatile team of licensed clinicians, Cartwheel will provide indispensable relief to communities across the country.”
“We work with school counselors to reinforce the support they provide to students every day,” said Joe English, Co-Founder and CEO of Cartwheel. “If a counselor thinks a student might need a level of care that goes beyond the school’s own capacity, Cartwheel can initiate treatment with a licensed clinician—no waitlists. This speed and quality has helped save lives.”
“By combining funding from school districts and health insurers, we’ve helped superintendents ensure the long-term financial sustainability of these services,” added Daniel Tartakovsky, Co-Founder and COO of Cartwheel and previously a mental health policy advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General. “We believe our model will become a blueprint for districts across the country on how to build a long-term school-community partnership, especially as school budgets tighten with the expiration of federal COVID relief dollars.”
Cartwheel serves more than 50 school systems across five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, supporting thousands of students, families, and school staff.
Cartwheel is the trusted mental health partner to schools, delivering rapid access to care for students and helping schools build stronger mental health programs that catch kids before they fall. Our evidence-based mental health program is designed around the entire school community. Our licensed therapists and child psychiatrists are diverse, culturally sensitive, and committed to affordable care for everyone—including uninsured families and those covered by Medicaid. Kids shouldn’t just aspire to get out of bed and drag themselves to class. They should be able to experience joy. They deserve to envision and build a life they’re excited to live.
For more information or to join our team visit: https://www.cartwheelcare.org/
About Menlo Ventures
Menlo Ventures is a venture capital firm that strives to have a positive impact on everything we do. That’s why we support businesses including Carta, Chime, Harness, Poshmark, Pillpack, Roku, Rover, Uber, and Warby Parker that are reimagining life and work for the better. Over 46 years, we’ve grown a portfolio that includes more than 80 public companies, over 165 mergers and acquisitions, and currently have $5.5 billion under management. We invest at every stage and in every sector, with expertise in Consumer, Enterprise, and Healthcare. From developing market strategies to creating communities, we provide real impact where entrepreneurs need it most. When we’re in, we’re ALL IN.
About Reach Capital
Reach Capital is an educator-led venture capital fund on a mission to expand access to education and economic opportunities and inspire people to reach their full potential. With over 20 years of teaching experience across the team, Reach has backed over 100 education and workforce development companies, including market leaders ClassDojo, Desmos, Lovevery, Nearpod, Outschool, and Replit. Join us on this transformative journey and make a difference in the lives of countless students across the globe. Learn more at www.reachcapital.com.
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