Business Health, Wellness & Biotech Startups

Something Ventured Part 5: Daybreak CEO Has A New Job As A Recruiter

Photo of Alex Alvarado, Daybreak Health founder with Something Ventured logo.

Editor’s note: This profile is part of Something Ventured, an ongoing series by Crunchbase News examining diversity and access to capital in the venture-backed startup ecosystem. As part of this project, we’re following seven seed-stage entrepreneurs over the course of several months as they build their businesses. Read our previous profiles of Alex Alvarado and Daybreak Health here, here, here and here, and access the full project here.

Few founders launch startups because they dream about nonstop job interviews and meetings about recruiting.

But when a company starts scaling rapidly, it’s pretty common for founding CEOs to see hiring emerge as among the biggest parts of the job. And Alex Alvarado is no exception.

As CEO of adolescent-focused mental health startup Daybreak Health, Alvarado is presiding over a major growth spurt for the 2-year-old company. Since November, he’s roughly doubled the size of the team. To enable that level of expansion, on a typical day he’ll probably be involved in six interviews.

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“It’s a shift from being very lean to really figuring out how to scale up the team,” said Alvarado.

“You’re spending less of your time on building the product and more of your time on building the team and the culture,” he added.

Headquarters staff, which oversees the operations of the company, has gone from roughly 10 to 20 in a few short months. Daybreak’s team of therapists, who primarily offer telehealth counseling to California teens, now numbers upwards of 60 people, up from around 40 in early November.

Rapidfire growth comes amid heightened demand for Daybreak’s core telehealth counseling service. The pandemic brought an additional sense of urgency to the company, which works with school districts in California to identify and help youths struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

As students returned to classrooms this past fall, many after more than a year of remote instruction, social anxiety was widespread. Many students also suffered from the sense of a “lost year” as social interaction, sports and in-person academic pursuits were scaled back or canceled in response to COVID-19.

Daybreak, which offers students one-on-one video counseling sessions and a dedicated messaging app, has been expanding its offerings as well. One of the most recent efforts has been to add a certified continuing education offering for its therapists, intended as both a recruitment incentive and a way for staffers to update their skills in areas where need is rising.

Alvarado said Daybreak has also beefed up its team of clinical supervisors. Other recent efforts include building up a secure dashboard for clinicians and honing some of its long-term strategy for recruiting clinicians right out of their masters’ programs.

On the revenue front, meanwhile, Daybreak scored a major step forward, signing on its first patients who are going to have their care covered by their health plan under an agreement with the provider Health Net.

As for funding, Alvarado said Daybreak has also made strides toward securing its Series A round. Having elicited a fair amount of inbound interest, the startup is in the enviable position of having some choices about whose money to take. Alvarado said he’s looking for the right fit: A financial partner who is keen on the company’s mission and also able to help with some of the challenges around scaling a startup.

A final term sheet could come soon, with Daybreak looking to close the round in coming weeks.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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