CareZone has been busy discovering a few key markets since launching in February, chief executive Jonathan Schwartz tells me. And the results are good enough to warrant a big round of funding: nearly $13 million from New Enterprise Associates, Catamount Ventures, and Schwartz himself.
Founded as an intranet for people who are taking care of aging parents, children, or anyone else in need of special attention, it has connected with communities around autism, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses.
But the service, which includes user profiles, a message board, and features for tracking medicine consumption, is getting used in different ways by each group — that’s resulting in new directions for the product. “Each community we talk to gives us input about what’s unique. Those with Parkinson’s tend to take the same medicine and step up dosage over time. That’ll fold into medication tracking.”
Meanwhile, he says, “The autism community is much more subjective. It’s been vocal about wanting journal entries that can be tagged, to allow caregivers to note diet, behavior changes and other trends in a more subjective way.”
Usage patterns are also changing as the product matures. The average number of Beloveds [those being cared for] climbs over time, he says. “Now that you’re taking care of a child, you might as well use it to take care of dad.” The ratio of caregiver to beloveds starts off close to 1, but then goes up as the caregiver begins using it for more beloveds, or adds others to help them out. The communities themselves are also helping to drive new users, Schwartz adds, like Autism Speaks talking about it on its Facebook page.
So, the new funding. This first venture round is going towards engineer hiring in San Francisco and Seattle, and product and partner development. New features are coming, that include more granular security for managing your parent(s) bank accounts/passwords, and Spanish-language translation.
Also as a result of the funding, Schwartz (the former CEO of Sun Microsystems) is bringing on his old CTO, current NEA partner Greg Papadopolous. Catamount, meanwhile, is adding partner James Joaquin, who met Carezone’s other cofounder, Walter Smith, back when they both worked at Apple. So, an old crew is getting back together to go after a big problem — but something a little closer to home.