When Kevin Dedner founded digital health startup Hurdle in 2018, he couldn’t have anticipated what the following years would hold—a global pandemic and a death toll of more than 500,000 in the US, COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black communities and communities of color, the death of George Floyd and renewed calls for racial justice.
Navigating through a multi-year depression himself, Dedner already knew about the shortcomings of the mental healthcare system in the US—where just one-third of African Americans who need mental health support end up receiving it. His struggle to access care was a catalyst for Hurdle, and events that have unfolded since make the need for culturally intentional therapy even more clear.
Based in Washington, D.C., Hurdle offers teletherapy services with providers trained in cultural humility. Developed by Dr. Norma Day-Vine of Johns Hopkins, the startup uses a proprietary tool to measure cultural responsiveness and provide appropriate training and coaching for its therapists. Hurdle raised a $5 million early-stage investment from .406 Ventures, Seae Ventures and F-Prime Capital in January 2021, and Dedner and his team will use the capital to strategically scale its operations. Read more here.