maro has developed a platform that helps families and schools with difficult conversations about mental health. The company, which exhibited as part of the Battlefield 200 at londonbusinessblog.com Disrupt, launched its first product, Maro Parents, in 2020. Now the company is gearing up to launch Maro for Schools next week to help schools screen students for anxiety and depression, with parental consent.
The Tennessee-based startup was founded by Kenzie Butera Davis, who originally planned to get Maro into schools to help children with mental health issues. However, these plans were halted due to the onset of the pandemic in 2020, as schools had to run online. Maro then decided to get his platform in-house via the Maro for Parents app. The app includes digital modules and an AI-powered bot to help parents discuss difficult topics with their children.
Although Maro for Schools officially launches next week, the company says 350 schools have already signed up to screen 100,000 students in 40 states for anxiety and depression. The program will be accessible through an annual subscription fee, but the company has not disclosed the price.
With the upcoming launch of Maro for Schools, the platform aims to provide teachers with accessible lesson plans around mental health. Maro for School also gives teachers access to resources related to sex education, substance abuse, and more. The platform also ensures streamlined communication between teachers and counselors, as teachers can be the first to detect whether a child could benefit from help. If a care provider believes that a child needs extra care, Maro puts it in touch with referral partners who provide virtual care.
Maro for School does not offer virtual care, but the aim is to identify at-risk children early and then put them in touch with virtual care teams.
“We have created a platform to screen children and then refer them to clinical teams that will facilitate and provide care for the child,” Maro Chief Medical Officer Tariq Chaudry told londonbusinessblog.com. “We basically act as a marketplace for pediatric development and mental health. We don’t want to go straight into therapy because we don’t want to dilute our business.”
The launch of Maro for School comes in the same month as the US Preventive Series Task Force recommended screening for anxiety in children aged 8-18 years.
Maro is raising a $1.5 million pre-seed round and plans to use the investment to expand the current 11-person team and further build the product. Maro expects to close the round within the next quarter.