Cartwheel, a startup helping schools tackle the student mental health crisis by delivering affordable, evidence-based telehealth services with no waitlist, has announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Menlo Ventures. Reach Capital and previous investors General Catalyst, BoxGroup, and Able Partners participated in the round.
Founded in 2022, Cartwheel provides students with immediate access to care and assists schools in developing more robust mental health programmes that catch children before they collapse. The platform serves over 50 school systems across five states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, supporting thousands of students, families, and school staff.
The company’s founding team, which included Chief Medical Officer Juliana Chen, M.D., a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, had spent decades working in schools and community mental health clinics and saw a need for stronger school-community partnerships to improve cognitive healthcare accessibility, quality, and financial sustainability.
Kimberly Huffer, Director of Social-Emotional Learning of Cambridge Public Schools, said in a statement on the recent development:
As a district, we’re committed to supporting our students’ social-emotional and mental health to set them up for success—in the classroom and in life. Cartwheel has been a game-changer for us, allowing our students and families to access evidence-based mental healthcare quickly. Cartwheel is collaborative and responsive to the needs of our students and families and empowers our social workers to have a true partner in the community.
According to the company, when a school district partners with Cartwheel, school counsellors can refer students for clinical mental health therapy with no waitlists. Its in-house team of licensed clinicians provides evidence-based telehealth services such as one-on-one therapy, group therapy, parent assistance, and medication support as an in-network benefit reimbursed by the family’s insurer. The organisation is open all year, allowing students to see a licensed clinician at home or school during nights, weekends, school breaks, and summers.
Cartwheel claims it works with school professionals and families to ensure the student receives the necessary help. Throughout the year, a clinically licensed programme manager assists school administrators with student cases, parent engagement, and staff training, and multilingual care coordinators help families with scheduling, insurance, and referrals for additional services. Parents can schedule weekly advice sessions with a licensed clinician to explore strategies to support their child even if their child is not interested in treatment. Parents can also attend educational seminars on mental health issues, such as school avoidance and social media use.
With this fundraising, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company plans to expand mental health services to hundreds of thousands of new students in current service areas and school districts in new states.