A lot has been made in the debate about Autism and healthcare, because of the potential burden it will place on insurance companies, who will most likely trickle that cost down to everyone. I'm not going to get into the debate as to whether or not insurance coverage for Autism is right or justified, but rather I want to talk about the costs of Autism. Or, more specifically, the overall toll Autism plays on families.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is the only therapy or "treatment" that seems to work with children with Autism. It uses the Behavioralist method of teaching by encouraging correct behaviors with rewards. It also uses the Environmentalist teaching method, in that practitioners eliminate distractions from the classroom environment, making it easier for the children to learn. It's great, when done correctly, and it can be expensive.
In order for it to work, you need to have a psychologist on staff, your therapist, an occupational therapist (manages sensory needs as well as motor skills), and a teacher. Most often your staff to student ratio comes very close to 1:1, and that's expensive. These are all highly trained individuals that have worked hard, studied hard, and spent a lot of money to get their education customized to work with these children.
Now, many good school districts, much like the one we are currently in, have great programs that provide all this as part of the Public school system. Most do not, from what I understand. Therefore parents need to go to special private schools, often costing them between $28,000 to $50,000 a year per student. If they have two children, it's doubled, and so on for each child on the Spectrum. It's not the most encouraging sign.
And, of course, these schools and supportive school districts are few and far between. That means either driving long distances, or moving to locations that have support for children on the Spectrum. This limits job mobility, housing opportunities, and a feeling of control that many people have naturally. That goes to piece of mind, and is a hidden stress point on families with children on the Spectrum.
But therapy isn't the only thing that is expensive! When the child goes home, they need to continue the same routines that they are being taught at school. Therefore parents need to modify the home environment to match, as much as possible, the school environment. For some families, that means providing a "sensory room", where children can pull out of their fog by being provided the sensory stimulation or deprivation they need, depending on their sensory needs. So dark rooms, soft music, indoor swings, trampolines, full body massagers, and a ball pit are just some of the things that can help children. Some of those things are pretty cheap, but others can be expensive.Continued on the next page
When NewsCred relaunched in January, TechCrunch called it ”The Ning for Newspapers” as it allowed users to create a combination news aggregation and opinion site, like your very own The Huffington Post. NewsCred has had several pivots in its three years of existence, but now it’s solely focused on B2B licensing deals and tirelessly helping to connect the dots between brands and online publishers.
“We’ve completley pivoted the company around. Now, we’re launching our next generation newswire. We’re helping publishers and brands get access to amazing content. Right now, their only option is going to AP or Reuters. We want our service to disrupt the industry,” says NewsCred’s Founder and CEO Shafqat Islam.
Let’s say Coca-Cola wants to run a series about music. Through NewsCred, Coca-Cola would have access to sources like Billboard.com, MTV News, The L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune as well as smaller music blogs. Revenue from the Coca-Cola deal is then split amongst the news sources in that package. Content producers don’t have to pay for anything; they simply receive a check at the end of the month. Islam says providers are making 6 figures a year off of NewsCred’s service and the company is on track to pay a few million dollars in syndication fees in 2012. “Content creators produce amazing journalism and they’re looking for non-display revenue. It’s a nice source of additional, incremental revenue,” he says.
Through NewsCred, the publisher or the blog also gains exposure, distribution and the company gets paid. Another New York City based startup named Contently is solving similar problems by helping brands outsource high-quality content from individual writers. Contently wants to put an end to content farms like Demand Media. Check out our launch story on the company here.
For brands and publishers, NewsCred charges a monthly API licensing fee for access to its content. The fee is based on the volume of news stories as well as the sources licensed. Content is customized, tailored and monetized through new advertising opportunities making it sound like a win-win. For larger publishers with a high volume of pageviews, NewsCred guarantees revenues. It’s an opportunity for big brand companies to save money on hiring a full-blown marketing staff or in-house editorial team while still positioning themselves as thought leaders in an industry.
“We’ve created a single platform for the world’s best journalism. And in doing so, we’re delivering millions of dollars of revenue back into the news ecosystem, and helping an important industry find new models to not just survive, but thrive.”
-NewsCred’s Founder and CEO Shafqat Islam (pictured below)
NewsCred raised a $750K seed round in September 2010 from Floodgate, IA Ventures and Naval Ravikant followed by a $4M Series A round in October 2011, led by FirstMark, with participation from Lerer Ventures, AOL Ventures and Advancit Capital (Shari Redstone) and participation from existing investors.