Healing Software

Written by Jen Barnett // Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mental health approaches can differ in significant ways from those of other specialists, often with treatments that are far more qualitative, including group therapy sessions, book recommendations, and mood questionnaires. Sometimes couples or parents and children are treated together. Practitioners often speak in terms of “goals” rather than “cures,” and benchmarking progress is highly individualized.

It was in this environment that founder Shegun Otaluna had the idea to create TheraNest, a software program that helps psychologists, social workers, counselors, and therapists manage their behavioral health practices.

In addition to their unique needs for tracking complex, subjective client progress notes and treatment histories, mental health practices are also profitable small businesses that need help with billing, payroll, employee communications, scheduling, and customer relationship management. TheraNest offers tools for all of these and more, so that practices need only one software program for their business.

Otaluna, a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says the company’s commitment to customer service is its competitive advantage. That bears out across the web, where practices regularly give TheraNest the highest reviews in the industry for ease of use, customer support, features, and price, which starts at just $29/month. They also appreciate the robust reporting system, tutorials, and integrations with third-party organizations like Wiley and Google. TheraNest uses customer feedback to continually grow and improve, adding services like mobile apps for iOS and Android and thinking about future opportunities in teletherapy.

1. What’s your elevator pitch?

Our pitch is simple: mental health practices and organizations deserve to be first class citizens along with medical doctors and other practitioners in the healthcare arena. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a solo provider practice or a large behavioral health practice. We are committed to creating tools that help them improve outcomes both for them and those they serve. That’s our mission.

2. What’s your value proposition?

You don’t have to settle. TheraNest is committed to providing you an all-in-one solution to meet your needs. And we are committed to growing with you as your organization grows. We are focused on customer success, move fast, and pride ourselves on high quality support for our customers, both from a product and people perspective.

3. When did you launch Theranest, and how would you describe its growth?

I founded TheraNest in August of 2013. We’ve grown substantially since then and now serve thousands of practices and organizations throughout the United States. We currently have a team of more than 20 full-time people.

4. How did you get the idea to launch TheraNest?

I saw a need in the marketplace. I didn’t know much about mental and behavioral health. My background is in software and technology. I was hired by a behavioral health center to help come up with a solution for some of their practice needs. I was blown away by the positive, often unrecognized work they were doing. I was surprised by how underserved they were from a technology standpoint. I began to talk to other practices and organizations and realized there was an opportunity to have an impact and build a great business around the ideas I had for solutions.

5. Why is now the right time for TheraNest? Why did you launch it in Birmingham?

A lot of changes are happening in mental health. It’s a great time to be part of the solution. I launched in Birmingham because it’s home. It’s been home for 18 years. Great people, great place. We found great advice and significant support in the community.

6. Where do you want the company to be in five years?

Five years from now, we want a company that’s much loved by the people we serve. We want to continue to do great work, and be one of the great startup success stories in the state and region. We want to have built a pretty substantial company, but one where the team members enjoy what they do and feel fulfilled.

7. Who would you most like to connect with right now?

There is always a need for great talent. We are always hiring, if prospective candidates meet our criteria and will be great members of the team. Of course, we are always excited about talking to customers and potential customers and learning about their challenges and how we can use technology to improve their lives and the lives of those they serve.

DETAILS: TheraNest

Type of business: Healthcare software

Location: Innovation Depot

Founder: Shegun Otaluna

In business since: 2013

Number of employees: 20+

Site: theranest.com

Phone: 800-867-7405