Brave Care, backed by Y Combinator, is an urgent care clinic just for kids

Brave Care is an urgent care facility for pediatric care that costs, on average, about 80% less than a pediatric ER visit. Darius Monsef and his co-founder came up with the idea shortly after a fateful week for the Monsef family, during which their four-year-old dove off a bike ramp and their one-year-old started having breathing problems.

For both visits, he went to a pediatric urgent care facility where his kids were thoughtfully and patiently treated by Dr. Corey A. Fish. Monsef and Fish went to coffee a couple of weeks later, and Fish revealed he wanted to build out more pediatric urgent cares but needed a business partner.

The duo brought on a COO, Maryam Taheri, and a CTO, Asa Miller, and Brave Care was born.

In 2015, there were approximately 30 million pediatric emergency room visits in the United States — 96.7% of them were treat-and-release visits.

It’s no surprise that parents are quick to pull the trigger on an emergency room visit when their kid is hurt or injured. But ER visits are incredibly expensive, leaving caring parents in a punishing situation.

The idea behind Brave Care is to provide a service that fits in between a child’s regular doctor and the emergency room.

“We don’t want the treatment of an injury or illness to be more traumatic than how you got it,” said Monsef.

Brave Care is built specifically for children, meaning that the waiting rooms are kid-friendly and the medical instruments are kid-sized and not intimidating. Plus, Brave Care goes the extra step to make sure little patients aren’t afraid, whether that means numbing gels for injections or offering medicine in liquid form.

For now, Brave only has one location, in the Portland area, but the vision is to expand the brand to many locations across the country. Brave also wants to introduce a triage tool to help parents at home who are making difficult decisions about what to do with a sick or injured kid.

“One thing parents often do is they try to Google for whatever symptom or problem their kid is having,” said Monsef. “And searching for a problem is pretty awful because search engines are trained to return the most interesting result, and I don’t want that. That’s terrifying. What I want is to reasonably narrow down the area of the problem so I can find a better answer.”

He went on to explain that sometimes it can be very difficult to search a symptom without the right terminology. For example, how do you describe a certain type of cough?

In the near future, Brave Care wants to introduce a self-guided triage tool for parents looking to understand the basics of the issue so they can make informed decisions on where they need to go, what they need to do and how urgently they need to do it.

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The triage product is currently in development and will launch soon.

Eventually, Monsef sees the opportunity to introduce an asynchronous telemedicine product, which would combine in a HIPAA-compliant messaging system the data collected from the self-serve triage tool with pictures and videos provided by the parent.

That said, Monsef believes that fully remote telemedicine leads to overprescription of antibiotics and says Brave Care will stay away from remote-only care in the short term.

“Without the right device in a consumer’s hand, there isn’t much we can do remotely,” said Monsef. “We can’t look in the ear or throat, or listen to the heart. But as consumers get more of these devices, we can improve remote care for kids.”

For now, however, Brave Care is simply focused on providing the best possible care to patients in its Portland facility.

Brave Care is in the current Y Combinator class and has raised a total of $1.45 million in funding.