To all of those who make up the strong, resilient, dynamic, supportive, and loving Birdhouse community: Dani, Adam, and I are proud to share that Birdhouse is being acquired by Track and Share! There are quite a few things to cover here, and questions to address, so I’ll do my best to walk through this as helpfully as possible.
What this means for you, as a Birdhouse account holder
In 30 days, effective September 26, 2017, Track and Share will own and manage Birdhouse.
The existing Birdhouse team will continue to be around for a bit, providing guidance and instruction while the new team gets a handle on things. You can continue to use Birdhouse as you have come to expect, uninterrupted. The only difference is that Track and Share will be providing you that service going forward.
If you have any questions about any of this, you can reach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Track and Share?
Track and Share is a health technology company based in Burlington, Vermont.
Like Birdhouse, they provide mobile apps to support and empower a diverse range of families and individuals living with specialized, unique, or rare health conditions — including Autism. Track and Share is a major force for good in the online condition community, and they’re led by one of the truly original digital health pioneers, Uwe Heiss.
We feel incredibly honored they’ve recognized the value in Birdhouse, and we’re so very proud to partner with them.
What you can expect from Track and Share
A few words from CEO Uwe Heiss:
“It has been a wonderful journey getting to know Adam, Ben, and Dani. We took many careful steps together to ensure the support of our communities in the best way possible. As the founder of Track & Share and as an innovator in healthcare, I have dedicated more than 20 years to empower patients. At the same time, I am humbled and honored by Birdhouse trusting me to continue and grow their work. Both our teams are intrinsically rewarded by serving their communities. Combining our efforts allows us to expand the availability of helpful tools and services, and provides a solid base for sustainable operations far into the future. Together with my team I am very excited about working with you — the parents, peers, teachers, therapists, and care providers of individuals with special needs.”
Our history and accomplishments
When Dani and I started Birdhouse at our kitchen table in 2012, our dream was to use technology to transform the way parents like us raising children with Autism and other disabilities care for their kids. There were so many great products, services, and tools aimed at children, yet very few offered to the parents of those children.
Our thinking was that by taking steps to empower parents and caregivers with the right tools and resources, their children would thrive and the burden of an under-supported disability would be lifted from the entire family — everyone would make more progress.
The result of that effort was a family-centric social enterprise that touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of families caring for children with over 500 unique health conditions.
Birdhouse grew to become one of the most trusted digital brands in the special needs community, providing not only mobile and desktop-based caregiving apps, but also special-needs-oriented parenting resources, support, advice, reassurance, advocacy, and community — all things that unfortunately tend to be hard to come by when raising children who don’t fit the description of “neurotypical.”
Over the years, we created caregiving apps for the Autism community, Epilepsy community, Special Education community, and broader Special Needs community. We published perspectives and think pieces, shared resources from other parents who’ve been through it before, partnered with amazing nonprofits locally in Southeast Michigan and all over the U.S., and did everything in our power to help parents feel less alone and more empowered in their journeys.
Stories of how Birdhouse changed families’ lives began to roll in and amaze us. “Life before Birdhouse and life after Birdhouse” was a phrase we heard more and more frequently. It’s a phrase we identified with in our own home. It’s a wonder to look back at and appreciate.
Arriving at this partnership
The decision to join up with Uwe, and Track and Share, was arrived at after long, careful, and deliberate consideration. Just as it was true of our mission at our founding and during our operation, so it is with this acquisition; this is about value creation, not wealth creation.
But alongside all our successes, there were also a number of challenges that we struggled to find solutions for in order to continue building a bigger, stronger, and longer-lasting business.
Important details of operation, staffing, funding, and direction arise as you build scale and work to continue improving the technology and pushing users’ expectations forward as they evolve and grow with you. How to get this right varies a lot depending on each organization’s unique circumstances. Behind the polished front you see presented by technology companies like Birdhouse is a difficult, messy, exciting, and emotional operation filled with ongoing victories, challenges, and defeats, where coming to “the right decision” isn’t always so black and white.
We sought guidance for these challenges from our community of mentors, advisers, investors, peers, friends, and our very own incredible Birdhouse users. In doing so, we were eventually led to Uwe and Track and Share.
Through our conversations with Uwe, we found that his organization was set up in a way that could take all that we had built — our technology and the community that depends on it — and give it a home equipped to both address the challenges we had been facing as well as lead it forward.
Track and Share has the same passion and caring and devotion to the community that was so foundational to our operation, and they look at problems in much the same ways we do — mindful of the types of tools, resources, and flexibility needed, and how those factors work together to solve the immense challenges our fellow families experience. We felt inspired that they were best suited to continue the mission we started.
Creating and leading Birdhouse has genuinely been the experience of a lifetime. Getting to know the families in our magnificent Birdhouse community — playing a role in helping you, your child, and your care teams strive for and reach your goals — has been incredibly rewarding, to say the very least. Every day, no matter the challenge, really was special. Passing this charge to another great leader is an honor. Under his stewardship, and based on the success of Track and Share over the years, we believe that Birdhouse has found a secure home.
From all three of us — Dani, Adam, and myself — we simply want to thank you for your unwavering support over the past five years.
The world has evolved so much since we wrote the original Birdhouse plan in late 2011 / early 2012. Communities around the country are not just more knowledgeable and understanding of those who are different — they’re more inclusive and accommodating as well. There are more resources, tools, and support for parents on the special needs journey now — not to mention more easily accessible — than ever before.
We couldn’t be prouder to have played a role in that evolution, and we’re incredibly excited for what the future holds.
Wishing you health, perseverance, and continual forward progress,