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PairTree speeds adoption process with an online, self-matching platform and $2.25M seed

Making the choice to adopt, or to find an adopting family, is a legally complex, emotionally taxing, expensive and time-consuming process. PairTree aims to make one part at least considerably easier and faster with its online matching platform where expectant mothers and hopeful adopters can find e…

  • Posted on 31st Aug, 2021 08:53 AM
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PairTree speeds adoption process with an online, self-matching platform and $2.25M seed Image

Making the choice to adopt, or to find an adopting family, is a legally complex, emotionally taxing, expensive and time-consuming process. PairTree aims to make one part at least considerably easier and faster with its online matching platform where expectant mothers and hopeful adopters can find each other without the facilitation of an agency or other organization. The company has just raised a $2.25 million seed round, a rarity in the industry.

The path to adoption is different for everyone, but there are generally some things they have in common: Once the process is started, it can take upwards of $50,000 and over a year-and-a-half to organize a match. While some of this comprises the ordinary legal hurdles involved in any adoption, a big part of it is simply that there are limited opportunities for adoption, and compatibility isn’t guaranteed. As many people considering adoption are doing so on the heels of unsuccessful fertility treatment, it can be a lot to take on and a dispiriting wait.

Erin Quick, CEO and co-founder (with CTO Justin Friberg) of PairTree, said that the modern adoption landscape is marked by the fact that nearly 95 percent of adoptions are open, meaning there is ongoing contact between a biological mother and adopting family.

“They’ll be working together forever, and that makes finding a highly compatible match that much more important,” Quick, herself a happy adopter, told TechCrunch in an interview. But because of the way adoption is generally done — through agencies licensed by states — there are limitations on how far anyone involved can reach.

“It’s so bound by geography,” she said. “It’s regulated at the state level and has been facilitated by state level, not because of state laws — there’s no rule saying you can’t adopt out of state — but because the facilitators are small nonprofits. They bind themselves to their geographic region because that’s what they can serve. We’re building a platform that makes what people are already doing much easier and more efficient.”

That platform is in many ways very much like a dating app, though of course the comparison is not exact and does not reflect the gravity of choosing to adopt. But like in the dating world, in adoption you have a cloud of people looking to connect over something highly dependent on personality and individual needs.

Screenshot of the way expectant mothers can filter and search for compatible adopting families.

PairTree onboards both expectant mothers and adopters with personality tests — not the light-hearted stuff of OkCupid but a broader, more consequential set of Jungian archetypes that signal a person’s high-level priorities in life. Think “wants to travel and learn” versus “wants to provide and nurture” (not that these are necessarily incompatible) — they serve as important indicators of preferences that might not be so easily summarized with a series of checkboxes. That’s not the only criterion, of course. Other demographic and personal details are also collected.

The adopters are added to a pool through which expectant mothers can sift and, if desired, contact (in this, Quick suggested, PairTree mirrors Bumble, where women must message first). PairTree also does basic due diligence stuff like identify verification and confirmation of other important steps like home studies.

If a likely match is found, all the relevant information is passed to the adoption facilitator, who will be coordinating the other legal and financial steps. PairTree isn’t looking to replace these agencies — in fact Quick said that they have been huge proponents of the platform, since it can shorten wait times and improve outcomes. She said based on their existing successful adoptions that the wait can be cut by half or even two-thirds, and thus the cost (which involves recurring payments as the agency searches and does the legal work) by a similar amount.

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