Autism Investor Summit
April 19-21st 2021 | Virtual

All Sessions Were Recorded and Are Now Available for Viewing

Watch Recorded Sessions
This event is co-chaired by Sara Gershfeld Litvak, MA, BCBA and Ronit Molko, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Sara Gershfeld Litvak, MA, BCBA
Ronit Molko, Ph.D., BCBA-D


Autism affects about 1 in 59 children according to the latest data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, meaning that 2.5% of the U.S. population has autism. These numbers will likely increase as individuals in underserved markets, females and adults are better identified and receive an accurate diagnosis.

Autism services cost U.S. citizens approximately $250 billion annually, with the individual lifetime cost per person ranging from $1.4 million to $3.2 million depending on the intellectual capacity and support system of each individual. Because of these growth rates, access to funding and demand for services is increasing exponentially resulting in intense investor interest in this sector. Currently, the autism services and therapeutic market in the U.S. is conservatively estimated to be valued at $7 billion dollars and growing. The market continues to be highly fragmented with fewer than 20% of providers owned by consolidators. Additonally, demand continues to outweigh supply. The current market size is considered conservative and some estimate the market is substantially larger, with a TAM (total addressable market) of up to $70 billion. 

COVID-19 has created even greater stress and pressure as families struggle to place their children in schools and receive the support they need at home. Conversely, telehealth coverage has created greater access to services and efficiency around service delivery and supervision. The delivery of ABA services has changed significantly in the past year as companies have had to pivot to manage the contraints of safety and social distancing. What changes will be permanent and how will our industry evolve as a result?

Every year, the Autism Investor Summit provides a unique opportunity for autism service providers, investors and key stakeholders to meet in a private setting to discuss the autism services landscape, opportunities for investment and to discuss and learn about best practices and innovation in all areas of autism services.

The mission of this conference is to advance autism services and the outcomes for consumers by bringing together stakeholders from all aspects of the industry- service providers, advocates, legislators, payers, consumers, investors and researchers- to meet, network, share information and understand what the future holds for the autism industry.

This is a curated event and all attendees are approved by the conference committee. 


Investors are in a strong position to consolidate, expand, and create the kinds of economies of scale that are common in other sectors of healthcare, and in other industries.​ The autism service market is a highly fragmented marketplace with many opportunities for consolidation, favorable returns on investment and the elevation of regulation, meaningul clinical outcomes, professional development and oversight of care. Because autism treatment is a fairly new field, the industry lacks regulation and oversight. While this is a challenge when evaluating the quality of treatment centers, it’s also an opportunity to implement cutting-edge treatments and technologies. It is vital that investors understand the nuances of autism services and the issues service providers face when scaling their businesses. 

Important factors in the current autism provider landscape:

The predominant treatment for autism is based on the science and methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is one of the few areas that attracts bipartisan political support and as of August 2019, all 50 states in the U.S. mandate insurance coverage of autism services. Services are provided in the home, at center-based programs, at school, or in hybrid models that serve multiple locations. ABA is considered the gold standard of treatment for autism. The National Research council recommends a minimum of 25 hours per week of student engagement. While many service providers offer ABA-based programs, not all ABA is the same. It is critical to assess the quality of programming and service delivery when considering an investment in an autism company.


The ABA market is growing at twice the rate of other multi-site healthcare businesses. With greater awareness, we are seeing the beginnings of a reduction in the social stigma of autism and a formal diagnosis of autism leading more families to seek intervention and support. As funding for autism services and awareness of autism is expanding, more and more families are seeking services nationwide. Most providers report waiting lists for assessment and diagnosis, as well as intervention, leading to rapid growth in this industry. In addition, there are many underserved communities where services are lacking bringing multiple organic growth opportunities to existing providers.


In recent years, significant investments in autism service providers have occurred resulting in the beginning of consolidation of this market. This interest and investment trend is driving a new level of competition and increasing the standards against which providers need to comply and perform. Despite this growth, however; less than 20% of the autism service industry is owned by consolidators providing much opportunity for continued investment in this market. As consolidators continue to buy up the market, issues such as the integration of clinical methodologies, operational processes, regulatory compliance and administrative functions bring new challenges, especially because the industry is relatively young and unsophisticated from a business operations standpoint.


The total annual costs for children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) in the United States are estimated to be between $11.5 billion and $60.9 billion — a significant economic burden. It is estimated that the current ABA service provider market is about $7bn with a TAM (total addressable market) of between $50-70bn. The ABA therapy market is expected to grow at a 25% CAGR over the next 3-5 years. The needs of the aging autism population are grossly under serviced providing significant needs across the nation and additional opportunities for investors and providers. Many autism treatment organizations, and some of the largest competitors are located in California. This is due to the fact that funding for treatment programs has been in place there for over 5 decades, prior to the insurance mandates that were later put into place.

Unique Opportunities
For Potential Investors
  • What are the top issues that challenge scaling an autism service business?
  • How are changing regulations and reimbursement policies impacting services?
  • What are some new and evolving clinical standards that investors should know about?
  • How is due diligence different from other sectors, and what do investors need to look for?
  • What are some of the challenges investors face in building or expanding autism treatment centers?
  • What are the most compelling investment opportunities?
  • Why should business owners “take the call” with investors and how can your business benefit from taking on investment?
  • What does the process entail when bringing on an investor?
  • What methodologies do investors use when evaluating opportunities? How are businesses valued?
  • What are the most compelling reasons to sell, and not to sell?
  • How do you evaluate a potential investor offering? How do you evaluate a potential partner?
  • Where is the market heading and what should providers be concerned about?
Reasons to attend
Reasons to attend
  • Meet one-on-one with industry investors, service providers, investment bankers and professionals
  • Learn the latest information on funding, legislation and clinical operations
  • Enhance your personal database with valuable new connections- share both ideas and contact information
  • Meet fellow service providers with the opportunity to have new and different conversations regarding the market, service needs and future of the industry
  • Understand which service models have the most robust outlook and how outcomes will impact the future of autism services
  • Hear from investors what they look for when exploring acquisitions
  • The right questions to ask when conducting due diligence on companies in the industry.
  • Learn about the current critical factors impacting autism service delivery models today
  • What to look for in an investor and how to know when investment is right for you
  • The keys to differentiation in the market place
Recent Middle-Market
ABA Deals​
  • Autism & Behavior Consulting Services acquired by Proud Moments
  • Florida Autism Center acquired by BlueSprig
  • Applied Behavioral Strategies acquired by Cultivate Behavior & Learning
  • Behavior Basics acquired by Acorn Health
  • Aptitude Habilitation Services acquired by BlueSprig
  • Attentive Behavior Care acquired by Proud Moments
  • Comprehensive Educational Services (ACES) acquired by General Atlantic
  • Centria Autism acquired by Thomas H. Lee Partners
  • STAR of CA acquired by The Stepping Stones Group
  • HopeBridge acquired by Arsenal Capital Partners

Monday, April 19th: Welcome Reception

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Tuesday, April 20th: Virtual Lounge

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Keynote: Leading with Purpose and Values
Lacey Leone McLaughlin

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM

Session 1A: State of the Industry – A Market Analysis
Dexter Braff

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 1B: What We Talk About When We Talk About the Transition to Value Based Care in ABA
Harry Nelson, Hanna Rue, Ivy Chong, Lori Geary


10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 2A: Investing in Key Leadership and Growth: Employee Stock Option Plans
Benjamin Delancy

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2B: ABA & Autism Legislative Update
Harry Nelson, Julie Kornack, Ellen Bonner, Anna Bullard

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2C: Technology Panel
Sasha Shtern, Lisa Clinton, David Zeldin, Reece Epstein, Mordechai Meisels, Thomas John

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Lunch & E-Mail Break

11:50 PM – 12:20 PM

1:1 Speed Dating

12:20 PM – 12:55 PM

Session 3A: How to use Technology to Differentiate Your Practice
Karen Parisi, Cheryl Michael

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Session 3B: Preparing for Diligence
Nick Merkin, Jon Krieger, Eli Rubin, Vinay Bhupathy

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Session 3C: Payor Perspectives on Pain Points in ABA
Sara Litvak, Brian Dowd, Darren Sush, Christina Weston

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

E-Mail & Work Break

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Interactive Subarctic Experience

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Wednesday, April 21, 2020 
Keynote: Mental Health is a Public Health Issue
Regina Benjamin

9:00 AM – 9:50 AM

Session 1A: Clinician Perspectives on PE’s Impact on Quality
Ronit Molko, Stephen Wood, Kathleen Stengel, Chanie Rubin, Landria Green

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 1B: From Chaos to Best in Class, Building High Performance Company
Paul Fischer

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 1C: Technology Panel
Reece Epstein, Mordechai Meisels, Thomas John

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 2A: Parent Perspectives on ABA, Autism and Intervention Options
Ronit Molko, Bobbi Rogers, Michelle Heid, Mari-Anne Kehler

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2B: Perspectives on the Industry
Aytan Dahukey, Kevin Taggart, John DiGiovanni

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2C: Making the Case for (More) Diversity in Autism Services
Justin Funches, Amrit Dhillion, Brandon Whitfield 

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2D: Optimizing Revenue Cycle Management in ABA
Mark Romano, Mike Freytag

11:00 PM – 11:50 PM

Lunch Break

11:50 PM – 12:20 PM

Topic-Based Networking Session: Finance; Leadership; Talent Management, Marketing in ABA, Clinical

12:20 PM – 12:55 PM


Session 3A: Privacy & Security Considerations
Doug Howard

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Session 3B: Resilience in a Volatile World
Scott Klososky

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Session 3C: Multi-State Expansion
David Long, Anna Bullard, Jose Alvarez

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

Closing Remarks

1:50 PM – 2:00 PM