It’s always refreshing when a startup tackles a real-world problem instead of building another photo-sharing/local reviews/social calendar service. Case in point: TenderTree, a company that’s trying to improve the way people find reliable care for their aging family members, and then pay them for their work.
A recent participant in the latest 500 Startups batch with less than a million in funding, TenderTree is launching now into its beta, targeting the San Francisco Bay area to start.
Founded by Aaron Ginn, Andy Agrawal, and Dana Wu, the idea for TenderTree came out of Agrawal’s own experience, and subsequent troubles, that arose from watching a friend find care for his grandmother who lived in another city. He says that although there are brick-and-mortar agencies for this, as well as sites like Care.com, these competitors don’t really meet everyone’s needs. Agencies will send out a few different caregivers to interview, but they don’t have the selection of a larger marketplace, like Care.com does.
However, not all online services go the extra step to provide the essential steps of running background checks on applicants (or don’t do so for free), nor do they all check for caregivers’ CNA accreditation. And they don’t check their references, or test them on their skills.
TenderTree, though, verifies all the caregivers on the site – even going so far as to quiz them on their skills (are they really “good at cooking” or are they just saying that?, e.g.). The site also has a $3 million liability insurance policy which it provides to anyone who continues to use the platform after the hire has been made. That’s not hard to do, given that TenderTree generates contracts automatically, handles the taxes, allows caregivers to submit their time cards online, and then allows the families to pay via the platform.
(^^ Nice. For the record, I’ve now begged them to expand to child care, but that’s not TenderTree’s focus at present).
The service is also considerably cheaper than home care agencies, explains Ginn. “They charge, on average, about $30/hour. On our site, it’s about $15 because we remove a lot of the overhead, we remove the franchise fees, we remove a lot of the taxes, and we remove a lot the manual labor that goes into how they provide in-home care,” he says.
TenderTree is kicking off its launch in San Francisco with over 1,000 caregivers on the site. By year-end, they plan to arrive in L.A. Beta users can now sign up here.