Team Profile: Specially

Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Team name: Specially
Members: Hillary Barr (YC'12) and Tiffany Pang (YC'12)

The Pitch

Specially is an online platform for therapy augmentation, starting with autism. We aim to provide affordable Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy with a social twist. 

The Team

Hilary Barr, CEO & Co-Founder – Hilary is a recent Cognitive Science graduate of Yale College who has had more than 9 years of experience working with the autism community. As CEO, she brings her passion and vision to the company. Ever since she was 14, she has volunteered at a retreat for special needs children and parents. At Yale, she started a non-profit with Tiffany to raise money for elephants in Thailand, founded a ventriloquism program as a therapeutic and creative outlet for children with autism, and did research on the autism community at the Yale Child Study Center.

Tiffany Pang, COO & Co-Founder – Tiffany is a recent Neuroscience graduate of Yale College. At Specially, she brings her leadership background and is the jack-of-all-trades of the company. She has had experience working at start-ups, having started a non-profit with Hilary and worked as a social media intern at Howcast in its early stages. At Yale, she served as the Director and President of the Hypertension Awareness Team that bridged the gap of access to health care for low-income people, studied anime and manga at Waseda University, and researched schizophrenia and other related diseases at the Yale Child Study Center.

John Cadengo, Technical Advisor – John graduated from University of California, San Diego in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Computer Science. At Specially, he brings his entrepreneurial spirit and technical background, having founded several other start-ups, including Dash and Snapstacks. During his time at UCSD, he volunteered at orphanages and a school for differently-abled children. He also co-founded a campus publication at UCSD. His weapons of choice are Python, Objective-C, HTML/CSS/Javascript.

Victor Mutai, Lead Developer – Victor graduated from Yale College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Physics. An experienced web developer at previous startups, he brings his energy and technical background to the Specially team. His weapons of choice are Python and HTML/CSS/Javascript.

What problems did you see that led you to develop Specially?

Having been passionately involved in the autism community, we saw first-hand the loneliness, distress, and financial duress of parents of children with autism. From families whose therapy expenses are so high that they cannot afford to buy much else to single parents whose friends and family do not understand the uniqueness that autism brings, there are day-to-day stresses that few understand and even fewer know how to deal with. With only 5,000 certified therapists practicing the most effective therapy for autism in the world and 20 million people with autism worldwide, the lack of therapists and the high cost of therapy have been serious concerns of the autism community.

How is the Specially solution different?

Specially aims to reduce the cost of therapy and address the social needs of parents of children with autism by providing them the tools to augment applied behavior analysis therapy at home and connect with other parents doing the same program – all at an affordable price. We believe that if parents want therapy for their children, we should empower them by giving them the tools and access to do it. Not only will Specially aid the autism community, it aims to provide similar tools for other special needs populations.

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