Daybreak makes it easier for our kids to get the mental health support they need

Nicole Quinn
Lightspeed Venture Partners
4 min readMar 1, 2022


The Daybreak team at the top of Camelback Mountain in Arizona

If the last two years have proven anything, it’s that maintaining good mental health is more important — and more challenging — than ever. This is especially true for our children, who may have suffered more than anyone else from isolation and the lack of social connection throughout the pandemic.

This is why Daybreak Health has come along at precisely the right time. Daybreak’s mental health system was designed specifically for youth ages 11 to 19, who are suffering from issues like anxiety and depression and need someone they can talk to who isn’t their parents or their teachers. Daybreak quickly matches kids with a licensed mental health professional who specializes in youth issues and can help support their emotional well-being.

One silver lining of the pandemic is that it’s made virtual therapy widely accepted and easily available. This means people have access to more clinicians who specialize in the issues they are facing, find someone they truly connect with, and aren’t limited by physical distance. Daybreak is committed to democratizing access to youth mental health services.

As a new parent myself, I appreciate the tools that Daybreak provides. Even though my son is not yet old enough to attend school, I want him to have quick and easy access to counseling if he ever needs it. And as someone who directs investments in consumer mental health startups like Calm and Real, I see an amazing opportunity to enable Daybreak to scale on a national level.

This is why it pleases me to announce that Lightspeed is leading a $10 million Series A round in Daybreak. This will enable the company to bring its solution to more states, extend its outreach to consumers, school districts, pediatricians, and insurers; and hire more world-class engineers to continue to iterate on the product.

Making youth mental health care accessible, affordable & effective

Though families can sign up for Daybreak on their own, one of the smartest things the company has done is partner with schools. Kids spend 70 percent of their waking hours in class or on campus, and it’s often teachers and counselors who first identify the warning signs of deeper issues. Daybreak currently works with school districts in California and Texas, with more states on the horizon for 2022.

The nation is also facing a desperate shortage of school psychologists. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends one professional for every 500 students in a school district. Right now the US average is more than 1,200 students per psychologist; in some less densely populated areas the ratio is more than 5,000 to 1.

Daybreak also makes mental health care accessible to families who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Its average cost is roughly half that of services from private practitioners; more than 60 percent of Daybreak’s patients pay zero out-of-pocket costs.

The best part? It’s working. Four out of five students who finish their first counseling session go on to complete nine more; three-quarters of them report improvements in their mental and emotional well-being.

Enabling a happier and healthier future

One of the key reasons we were drawn to Daybreak is its team of founders, who are knowledgeable and passionate about the need for expanding youth access to mental health services.

Alex Alvarado (Co-founder & CEO) has spent years building products at the forefront of the unfolding digital health transformation, and has a clear vision for how technology can make mental health care for accessible and effective for young people. This issue is deeply personal for him, as his younger brother struggled with mental health issues in his teens and was unable to get the care he needed.

Sid Cidamb (Co-founder & COO) is a growth & operations expert who first met Alex at Stanford — Sid’s sister is a youth mental health therapist so this issue is personal for him as well. And Luke (Co-founder & CTO) is a deep systems thinker passionate about making the world a better for future generations.

I got the chance to attend one of their offsites in Phoenix, and was impressed by the incredible, diverse team that’s dedicated to enabling a better future for our young people. Daybreak is hiring for many key roles, check out their career page here.

We need Daybreak. Suicide rates for young people have nearly doubled over the last 15 years. An estimated one out of seven children in this country suffer from treatable mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD, yet only half receive treatment.

I want my son to grow up in a world where he and others in his generation can get the help they need, wherever and whenever they need it. I look forward to helping Daybreak achieve this goal.

Are you interested in building innovative startups to support mental health? Lightspeed is interested in hearing from you. Please reach out to me at



Nicole Quinn
Lightspeed Venture Partners

Investor at Lightspeed, Stanford alum, Former Consumer Analyst at Morgan Stanley and British 100m sprinter