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Exclusive: Coral Care links parents to child development specialists

Illustration of a small child being helped up a ladder by a giant hand

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Parents of children with developmental delays spend up to a year on waitlists for pediatric specialists who offer support for critical skills.

Why it matters: Coral Care collected $1.3 million in pre-seed funding to more easily connect parents to in-network childhood development specialists, CEO Jen Wirt tells Axios exclusively.

Details: Reach Capital, Greymatter Capital and Purpose Built Ventures participated.

  • The funds give Coral Care roughly 18 months of runway, per Wirt, who expects to raise again in the spring of 2024.

How it works: The Massachusetts company virtually connects parents with speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists who conduct sessions in the home.

  • The company also offers providers claims, payment, and liability management.
  • Coral Care providers work with children with mild to severe conditions, and children with autism represent just under 15% of patients, per Wirt.
  • The company is currently in-network with three Massachusetts payers and also accepts self-pay from parents without coverage.

Flashback: The parent of two children with developmental delays, Wirt spent six months on a waitlist for one provider while she watched one of her daughters miss out on key learning opportunities for her age group.

  • "I started this to get children the care they need affordably," says Wirt.

The big picture: "There are several players who tackle a piece of this, like care navigation, but they're not growing the supply, guaranteeing care, or helping ensure it's in-network," Wirt says. "To do this right, you have to see it end-to-end, or else you risk dropping people."

State of play: A handful of startups focused exclusively on autism therapy and care navigation have collected early-stage funding over the past few years, including...

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