Interview With San Diego Startup Recovery Brands, Disrupting The Addiction Treatment Space

The addiction treatment space is a $16 billion dollar industry. When you or a loved one needs an addiction treatment center, finding the right center can be an overwhelming experience, especially when coupled with helping the addict. Often times, it’s too late when you actually need the services of a treatment center, to do the mounds of research.

There are lots of factors that go into finding the right treatment center. Will my insurance cover it, how far is it from home, is it a lockdown program, can we visit, how much is it?  Sure there are sites out there with directories of treatment centers and they are great. Many recommend getting treatment out of state. 

Even with centers charging $25,000 to $50,000 per person per month, there are many treatment centers out there that aren’t reaching profitability. Some of the profitable centers aren’t reaching their desired goals for treatment. Through Rehab Brands services they hope to help treatment centers become more profitable, help rehabilitate more people who need it and educate addicts and their families in a better way.  Some of the smaller centers are also being hurt by the fact that many recommend getting treatment out of state, and that is lost income as far as they are concerned.

This startup has a very interesting story and we were able to get more of it in the interview below.

What is Recovery Brands?

Recovery Brands aims to become something like the or ZocDoc of the $16B addiction treatment space. We’re leveraging marquee domain property like, and the integration of our platform in partnerships with major ocal media properties (e.g., to get to a lead generation scale where we become a marketplace that enables more effective capacity utilization at treatment centers. These centers often charge $25,000 50,000/month for residential treatment. We generate highly targeted traffic, predominantly through organic means, and convert that traffic into clicks, calls, and inquiries for treatment centers.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Jeff Smith and  Abhilash Patel are the founders.  We both have entrepreneurial backgrounds, and as part of that have run marketing agencies. We get SEO, viral marketing, social media marketing, local and national directory plays, and we understand the pains and desires of our target clients very well, especially having helped nearly 30 respected treatment centers succeed with online marketing campaigns to date.

We’ve also built an incredibly talented and motivated team that’s excited to create the first major brand in this huge and largely untapped market space.

Where are you based?

San Diego, CA

What is the startup culture/scene like in San Diego?

It’s definitely growing at a respectable rate. There are some great companies here like Mogl run by my friend Jon Carder that are blowing up, as well as others such as TakeLessons and Sweet Labs that are growing fast and building great company culture. For the size of the city I think funding availability is relatively low, so that’s an area I’d like to see change.

What problem does Recovery Brands solve?

Every month millions of searches are conducted online relating to addiction treatment and we believe we can more effectively reach that audience and convert them at a greater rate than the existing players in this space. Right now there aren’t many really quality user experiences to be had by those searchers, and we feel like they deserve better information, aesthetics that create a good perception of the experience they’ll have in treatment, and materials to help them prepare for and get through treatment. The latter is something we’re developing to create a value-add when booking through for example.

From the B2B perspective, many treatment centers aren’t able to market profitably online. They may get to 75% capacity utilization through alumni, referrals from other treatment professionals, and word of mouth, and so in order to generate overall profit for the month they’ll head online to pay per click to try to fill the last few beds and will end up paying exorbitant amounts making little to no profit on those specific admissions. These centers are marketing online as a necessary evil when it really shouldn’t have to be that way because there is lots and lots of organic traffic out there but most facilities don’t have the sophistication or tolerance for investment in the long term process of building targeted organic traffic streams. We help them connect with potential clients who need help, at a predictable cost and scalability.

That means more people get the help they need, treatment centers operate more profitably, and we can build the first nationally recognized brand in our vertical.

What is one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?

Finding the money to quickly take this industry by storm. Most VCs are focused on companies that can be billion dollar companies and ones that are just focused on massive adoption and scale. We’ve had to work much harder to find the investors that are more interested in entrepreneurs with a successful track-record for building the exact same type of business as this one previously, an industry that is not saturated and yet is HUGE—consider that 400% more people face a substance abuse disorder than play Draw Something, or that addiction alone is a $16B industry compared to all mental health disorders being a $55B industry—, and lastly one where our success is directly correlated with the amount of lives we can help turn around and even save from dying in many cases. To me, this is a really worthy cause as well as a very sound and easy to understand business.

Who are your mentors and role models?

I feel like rather than looking at one person or a few people as overarching role models I really take bits and pieces of all the amazing people that I’ve worked with throughout my career and try to apply their excellence in my own life. I sold my first business to a company whose CEO, Andreas Roell, had an inspiring way of getting people excited about his company. My former business partner in that company, and the second company I sold, is one of the most effective builders of rapport and a salesmanship that
I’ve ever known, and he tought me a lot. Now I am involved with a group of some of San Diego’s top tech executives, who meet privately on a regular basis, and I draw incredible inspiration from them as well. Aside from these great motivators, I dedicate a small but meaningful amount of time each day to read startup and venture news that always motivates me as well, keeping my perspective in good shape.

What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?

We’re secretly addicted to creating a great business that’s going to help a lot of people (but don’t worry, we’re not workaholics!).

What’s next for your startup?

We’re launching a new site on another premium domain that will use an interactive storytelling process to help people understand the process of addiction treatment in a really appealing way. We’ve spent considerable time working on this, and expect to get a lot of traction because this subject has never been approached in this manner before. We find time and again that people respond really well when critical subject matter gets packaged in a really engaging user experience.

Aside from that we have some web apps in the works to help people with long term recovery that we’ll provide premium content through for those that booked treatment through


You can find out more about Recovery Brands here

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