Blueprint Profile

Blueprint logo.

Blueprint is a healthtech startup aiming to combat the mental health crisis. 

Founder(s): Danny Freed

Industry: Healthcare

Founded in: 2019

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Interview With Danny Freed

Describe your product or service & the problem it’s solving:

“Suicide now claims more lives than wars, murders, and natural disasters combined. Considering that 55% of adults with mental illnesses do not receive any treatment and 25% report an unmet need for care, we need new solutions to solve our mental health crisis. Blueprint’s mission is to empower clinicians with an easy-to-use tech platform filled with actionable insights and real-world data to help them provide higher-quality, personalized care in less time. By allowing patients to share their honest feedback and perspectives about their therapeutic sessions, our solution provides clinicians with a “blueprint” to help guide more effective sessions and inform future treatment. By helping the mental health industry transition to data-driven care, Blueprint is creating a new standard for measuring outcomes where, historically, there has been none. Our North Star is to revolutionize mental healthcare and help both patients and practitioners benefit from the collective knowledge and progress of those who came before them.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!

“I’ve been designing software experiences and building companies for the past 10 years. I got involved in mental health care after I lost one of my best friends to bipolar disorder and wanted to learn more about what he had gone through. Some might actually consider him “lucky” in that he had access to help, which not everyone does. He saw both a therapist and a psychiatrist and was on medication – he was doing everything he could. In the end, despite having access to these resources, the quality of care he received was ineffective, and we tragically lost him to suicide while he was between appointments. My journey today is to gain a deeper understanding of our mental health care system and how we can improve it to prevent others from experiencing what my friend did. After speaking with hundreds of clinicians, I’ve discovered why many traditional therapeutic treatments don’t actually help people get better and stay better. There’s a critical piece of the puzzle that’s missing: technology and innovative solutions that support clinicians in doing their best work and providing more effective treatment. I’m proud to say that Blueprint currently works with over 4,500 clinicians, supporting 200,000 patients across more than 75% of the US. And, by using our platform, patients have reported a 44% faster improvement rate in their well-being compared to traditional care methods.”

How is your startup funded, and what advice do you have for other founders seeking funding?

“Blueprint is funded by eight venture capital firms, including Ensemble VC, Lightbank, Bonfire Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, TAU Ventures, and Data Tech Fund, as well as select angel investors. We’ve raised $14 million in total funding to date. The first thing I’d advise founders to keep in mind is that it’s a rollercoaster ride. It’s critical to stay level-headed and not get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. Second, find a way to embody real confidence and switch your mindset from ‘I hope this person picks me’ to ‘This person would be lucky to join our team and our board. I’m offering them an opportunity to buy a stake in our company and invest.’ It’s extremely challenging but so important. We got 47 ‘nos’ from investors before we got our first ‘yes,’ but we’ve sustained that mentality throughout the entire process, and I think it’s helped bolster investor confidence in our team and our product and helped us find the right folks to back us.”

How big is your team, and what qualities do you look for when hiring new employees?

“We’re a rapidly growing team of about 20. When hiring, we look for intentional over-communicators. We also look for people who are BS-free who don’t care about office politics, or feel like any body of work or project is below them. We aren’t hierarchical as an organization and believe that, regardless of titles, we’re all working toward the same vision. Amongst our team, we like to use the motto, ‘Everyone takes out the trash.’ Collaboration and teamwork are at the core of what we do.”

Who is your target market? How did you determine this, and what strategies did you use to reach and engage them?

“Our target market includes clinicians and small, medium, and large mental health practices. We currently work with more than 4,500 clinicians, serving nearly 200,000 patients across 34 states. Blueprint was created for clinicians by clinicians, and we connect with our target market by engaging with them directly to establish genuine connections and relationships. Whether through cold outreach, attending events, or finding communities and places where clinicians frequent, word of mouth and recognizing the importance of personal connection has been a major driver of our growth from the start and continues to be an aspect that helps drive our business today.”

What’s your primary marketing strategy?

“Our current marketing strategy is focused on word of mouth, customer referrals, and B2B marketing. We also work with our PR team to highlight customer success stories and business milestones in publications that our customers and other important stakeholders read, which helps build brand awareness and amplify our work.”

What has been your most successful marketing campaign, and why do you think it worked so well?

“I’ll share a funny story. When we were attending one of our first conferences, we were looking for a way to stand out because we were a very new company, and not many people were aware of our brand or our work. We decided to use food as a draw to get people to our booth and brought bagels to share. As people spread cream cheese on their bagels, we took the opportunity to talk to them about our product. It’s a lesson I’ll never forget: marketing doesn’t always have to be super sophisticated or fancy. People love a casual conversation over food!”

What do you consider to be your company’s biggest competitive advantage, and how do you maintain it?

“The industry needs more products created for clinicians to support the transition to data-driven care on a large scale. Technology is only as good as its ability to seamlessly fit into clinicians’ existing workflows, and they need solutions built by those who truly understand their day-to-days and pain points. This is where Blueprint comes in. We’re built for clinicians by clinicians and bring a level of understanding that’s essential to changing the industry and tackling our mental health crisis. To that end, what makes us unique is that we’re customer-obsessed and laser-focused on building solutions to meet their needs. If not for our customers, we wouldn’t have true feedback about our platform or understand how we can best evolve and improve. Remaining attentive to customer needs helps us naturally create a competitive edge because we’re always building our product with clinicians and their patients top-of-mind. Internally as a company, we also strive to maintain a team-oriented culture. Having a best-in-class team and collaborative working environment are essential to solving complex problems and coming up with new and innovative solutions.”

What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of building your startup, and how did you overcome them?

“We made a sizable pivot when it comes to our business model fairly early on in the company. In our beginning stages, we were essentially giving our product away for free and attempting to monetize a percentage of clinician reimbursements. When that proved to be challenging, we reached a major watershed moment where we recognized, “We can try to solve the problems with this particular model, but it’s going to take us away from why we started the company in the first place.” So, we made the switch to selling our product by highlighting its clinical value – a huge shift. It was a challenging three- to six-month period, but it definitely paid off in the end because it allowed us to follow the positive feedback we were getting from our customers, which was, “Blueprint is helping me deliver great care and do my best work.” Everything eventually got simpler, but that was definitely a big moment for us.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“Along my journey, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how fellow founders are always willing to help. There’s definitely a pay-it-forward mentality amongst successful founders, which is something I wasn’t aware of before launching my first company. Likewise, I’m always happy to lend a helping hand to as many people as I can who reach out or are just getting started.”

What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?

“As I said earlier, don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows. Building a startup is more of an emotional battle than anything else. Sometimes, it’ll feel like you’re taking one step forward and three steps back or three steps forward and one step back. But, no matter the momentum, being really honest about the feedback you’re getting while remaining persistent and staying true to your values and mission is key in keeping your emotions in check.”

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