Autism Investor Summit

February 10-12, 2020
Los Angeles, CA

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

Please note that this event is closed to the media and all comments are off-the-record. Video and pictures may not be taken at any of the conference events. Purchase of tickets indicates that you accept these terms.
Location information provided upon registration.

Autism affects about 1 in 59 children, an increase from 1 in 68 two years ago, 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 are better identified and receive an accurate diagnosis.

Because of these growth rates, access to funding and demand for services is increasing exponentially resulting in intense investor interest in this sector. 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 of each individual.

Currently, the autism services / therapeutic market in the U.S. is conservatively estimated to be valued at $5-7 billion dollars and growing. This includes programs that serve individuals with autism as well as drugs targeting behavioral issues in autism. The supply constraint and the growing demand for services has created a very attractive market that is growing rapidly. Revenues of ABA programs are estimated to generate $2B- 7B annually. These estimates are considered conservative and we believe the market is substantially larger, with a TAM (total addressable market) of up to $70 billion.

The market is highly fragmented with fewer than 10% of the industry owned by consolidators. Demand continues to outweigh supply.  In the past two years, five large consolidators have emerged and with significant investment dollars driving the market, the industry is becoming more competitive. Despite this growth, many states and many families remain without adequate services to address the needs of thier children and their communities. 

This private event provides a unique opportunity for autism service providers and investors to meet in a private setting to discuss the autism services landscape, opportunities for investment and to attain valuable insights on the outlook for financial investment in autism healthcare 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 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 May 2019, 49 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 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 10% of the autism 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 and administrative functions bring new challenges, especially because the industry is relatively young and unsophisticated from a business operational 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 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 and an expanded 2-day program
For Potential Investors
  • What are the top issues that challenge scaling an autism service business?
  • How are changing regulations and reimbursement policies impacting investment?
  • There’s no single gold standard of care in ABA 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 consolidation 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 current deals
  • Enhance your personal database with valuable new connections- share both ideas and business cards
  • Meet fellow service providers with the opportunity to have new and different conversations regarding the market 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​
  • HopeBridge acquired by Arsenal Capital Partners
  • Proud Moments acquired by Audax Private Equity
  • Learn Behavioral acquired by Gryphon Investors
  • The Shape of Behavior acquired by Blue Sprig
  • Behavioral Health Works acquired by TA Associates
  • Center for Autism and Related Disorders acquired by Blackstone
  • Total Spectrum Care acquired by Learn Behavioral
  • ABA of North Texas acquired by Pharos Capital
  • ChanceLight Behavioral Health acquired by Halifax Group
AGENDA- To Be Announced

Monday, February 10th: Welcome Reception 

6-8 PM


Tuesday, February 11th: First Day 

7:30 – 4:45 PM


7:30 – 8:30 AM

Welcome Address

8:30 – 8:45 AM

Session 1

8:45 – 9:45 AM

Session 2

9:45 – 10:45 AM


10:45-11:15 AM 

Session 3

11:15 – 12:00 PM

Session 4

12:00 – 12:30 PM


12:30 – 1:30 PM

Session 5

1:30 – 2:30 PM

Session 6

2:30 – 3:15 PM


3:15 – 3:45 PM

Session 7

3:45 – 4:30 PM


4:30 – 4:45 PM


6:00 – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, February 12 will follow the same agenda as Feb 11 with the summit concluding at 4:45PM

7:30 – 4:45 PM