How a Single Question Created Today's Spring Health

Spiraling Up: The Journey to Become a Unicorn | Episode 2: Adam Chekroud

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    Spring Health President Adam Chekroud is telling the story of co-founding and growing our company in the latest episode of the LinkedIn and Hubspot documentary series Spiraling Up: The Journey to Become a Unicorn.

    In the episode, available now to stream, Chekroud delves into how he and Spring Health CEO April Koh decided to scale his cutting-edge academic research by launching a company that could have a positive impact on a global scale.

    “Founding the company was more about having done this work in academia, and yet we had no way of implementing it. In academia, people will say, ‘What’s your next paper going to be about?’” Chekroud says. “It wasn’t about the paper for me—we just built this thing, so we should go do it.”

    Chekroud also details the multiyear trials of taking the innovative idea behind Precision Mental Healthcare and turning it into a successful business model—including the perseverance of building off of funding and sales rejections to create a better idea.

    “In our seed round, we must have been rejected by about 150 investors before we started getting yeses. As a stat, it doesn’t sound as crazy as it feels when you go through it,” he says. 

    “What that means is you keep on pitching and everyone says no, and you keep on doing it. And 10 people in a row have said no, and then you keep on going. And then 20 people in a row have said no. And then 30 people in a row—who are all professionals at deciding whether your company can be a good idea—have said no, and then you keep on going. And now you’re at 50 people in a row have told you this is a bad idea and this company is not going to work and they don’t want to put money in. And then you go and do it for another 50 conversations, and they all say no. And then you keep on going through all of the nos.”

    Amid that challenging early stage, a single question from a potential customer changed everything for Spring Health’s growth. A healthsystem leader asked whether the company could provide care to its employees instead of its patients. 

    “That was the genesis of this idea. It’s not working when we sell to health systems because they’re not financially incentivized, but employers are financially incentivized,” Chekroud explains. “We went about building this new product, started hiring providers, and shared that we had this idea where everyone is bought into a data-driven future—we screen every patient who comes in, we figure out what kind of treatment is going to work, and we help patients get better faster.

    “That’s when things changed, the sales cycles became really really fast.”

    Check out the full episode here to learn more about how Spring Health’s founders pushed through the early stages to grow the best-in-class mental health solution for employers and health plans.

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