Success! You're on the list.

Success! You're on the list.

Forta raises $55M Series A investment to develop AI-assisted therapy to end waiting lists

Image credit: Deposit Photos

Forta, a San Francisco-based AI healthcare company, has announced its $55 million Series A funding round. Led by Insight Partners, a global software investor, the round was also joined by Exor Ventures and Alumni Ventures, and the founders of 23&Me, Curative, Forward, Flexport, Warby Parker, Prelude Fertility, Harry’s and Allbirds. Forta will use the funding to expand its autism therapy practice to provide AI-enabled applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy and further develop its suite of clinical algorithms.

A startup founded after personal experience of healthcare challenges

The inspiration for Forta came from co-founder and CEO, Ritankar Das’s, own experience. When his cousin was diagnosed with autism, his family found it difficult to access care. “Forta AI Healthcare was created to close gaps I experienced in the healthcare industry,” Das told TFN. “We have made so much progress towards curing many illnesses, but we have not had the same growth when it comes to treating chronic conditions.”

In both the US and the UK, many people are struggling to access treatment, and seeing lengthening wait times, for a range of medical issues. Both countries are experiencing a shortage of trained professionals, and in the US, it’s projected that there will be a shortfall of 124,000 clinicians by 2034.

At the same time, many conditions are seeing their prevalence surge. Whether it’s improved diagnosis identifying more and more people with autistic spectrum disorders, or longer life expectancies that result in more people with age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s. It means that even without the other challenges faced by healthcare systems, families face long waits as enough clinicians are trained to meet demand.

Forta, however, aims to solve these problems. By using AI, including large-language models, their system can empower families to deliver proven therapies as caregivers. “Our current healthcare system is not able to provide dependable and quality care to families when they need it,” Das explains. “We find ways to empower local and family caregivers with AI-based tools and education to deliver earlier and more effective interventions.”

Forta started with support for autism. “We started by increasing access to autism care because many in the community are underserved. It’s estimated that 1 in 30 children are on the autism spectrum, which is equivalent to roughly a child in every classroom,” Das said. “This means children are missing out on treatment during critical developmental years, which can have a lifelong impact.”

The programme offers a 50-hour course for caregivers on ABA therapy. But the platform offers more than just training, says Das. “Every person with autism is completely unique, so Forta’s platform uses artificial intelligence to analyse the patient’s medical records and aid in developing a personalised treatment plan,” he explained. This is backed up with certified therapists who act as clinical supervisors, overseeing treatments and providing caregivers with support and guidance.

Forta has already been used by hundreds of families and their children across the US. A peer-reviewed study in Cureus Journal found that 76% of them saw an improvement in achieving therapy goals using Forta’s model of a tech-enabled parent-led approach. And other studies have found similar levels of success.

Forta has now contracted with seven of the US’s ten largest health insurers, along with twenty-four state programmes, to make Forta available for more clients.

An end to zip and postcode lotteries for healthcare

“Children’s zip codes or parents’ income shouldn’t determine access to proven therapy. Families seeking autism treatment today face burdensome costs, offensive waiting lists, and undue hardships with few choices and little agency,” said lead investor, Insight Partner’s MD Scott Barclay. “At Insight, our computational care thesis aspires to serve founders creating scalable solutions – like Forta’s – born out of deeply rooted empathy.”

Although Forta has started, successfully, with family-led ABA therapy, there are many other conditions where there is the potential for effective AI- and family-led therapy approaches.

The funding will see Forta expand its autism therapy, and continue their AI and LLM research to identify and develop care pathways that will benefit from their tech-assisted, family-led approach. “We’re working towards a system that puts the patients’ wellbeing and care above all else by using intelligent software to empower caregivers,” Das told us. “We see a natural expansion of Forta’s platform and models to other chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s and mental health.”

Das sees Forta helping everyone get access to the care they want. “Our goal at Forta is to increase access to quality care,” he said. “Eventually we’d like to arrive at the point where we can support families with a child on the spectrum through their entire journey, starting at their diagnosis.” And, he believes, Forta will support families affected by a range of chronic conditions. “We’re working towards a system that puts the patients’ wellbeing and care above all else by using intelligent software to empower caregivers. We see a natural expansion of Forta’s platform and models to other chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s and mental health.”

Related Posts

Get daily funding news briefings in the tech world delivered right to your inbox.

Enter Your Email
join our newsletter. thank you