Addicaid: Scaling a Digital Platform for Addiction Wellness and Recovery
In 2013, Sam Frons founded Addicaid-a mobile application (app) that allowed people in addiction recovery to track their progress, check in with counselors, and connect with others in recovery programs. The app was grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy and used the rich set of data it collected from users to suggest tailored coping mechanisms for avoiding relapse. In September 2016, six months after quitting her full-time job to focus solely on Addicaid, Frons struggled to transition what was once a passion project into a full-fledged business. Two weeks earlier, Frons had approached a private, for-profit chain of addiction treatment centers about offering the app to its clients as a support tool for the recovery process once they completed treatment. The chain's management team was interested, but wanted more information about how Addicaid could help it reach its target bed occupancy rate. A recovering addict herself, Frons founded Addicaid in 2013 to help people with substance abuse problems and process disorders (such as food, gambling, internet, pornography, and sex addictions) reach their goals-which presumably included staying out of treatment centers. But now Addicaid needed to establish a business model that also created value for treatment centers. How should Frons address this inherent tension? What path should she pursue to scale her company into a sustainable, revenue generating business?