Envoy, which provides early elderly care with a concierge service for tasks like delivering groceries, has raised $3 million and is launching today.
Envoy’s pitch is that it provides a one-to-one concierge with seniors that don’t quite need full-time assistance, but periodically need help with tasks like running errands and for in-home help like plumbing. These tasks are usually handled by family members, CEO Justin Lin said. The company is also launching in 17 markets, he said.
Softech VC led the round, with Lowercase Capital, Vayner/RSE and others participating.
Envoy uses a subscription model that works out to around $199 per month, but there are options that cost less — which Lin says is a competitive deal compared to other in-home care providers. Family members will also have access to remote monitoring, including things like photos and receipts, which aims to remove some of the anxiety over employing an unknown person to provide care for a senior family member.
“It’s basically, you’re living at home, mom and dad are getting older but they start needing a little bit of help,” Lin said. “They’re not ready to hire a full-blown caregiver, they don’t need help getting dressed, they don’t need someone to come every day but they need a little support. And they need that personal touch and trust factor — that’s actually a long period of time.”
The application process is rigorous, Lin said, running through a chain from an interview, to a background check, and a one-on-one interview with other successful Envoys. If a potential provider makes it through that, there are still evaluations and other checks and balances, and they have to attend what the company is calling an Envoy school — where they learn about the application and what customers expect.
This rigorous process is designed to weed out applicants that might not be a good fit for one-on-one caregiving, Lin said. That’s particularly important as caregivers aim to establish a relationship with the people they are taking care of, and that requires a set of skills that many might not possess. Still, many Envoys fit the profile of people like stay-at-home moms looking to earn a little extra income on the side.
“Envoys generally serve multiple clients, they serve their own schedule — it’s flexible but also predictable,” Lin said. “It’s a different talent pool of folks who love to do this sort of thing, that’s how we’re able to find great people, and we’re also good at operationalizing the process. We’ve scaled things before. we’ve built a lot of software to help with that.”
The primary competition here are existing firms that provide one-to-one care providers — or even places like Craigslist. And of course, there are families that still want to care for their parents. Still, the sweet spot for Envoy is something that isn’t necessarily effectively covered by those firms, Lin said. It’s the 3.7 years or so where only partial care is necessary, he said. Still, there are a lot of services out there that individually handle these tasks — Instacart for groceries and other startups for services — so there’s also a chance that the service may prove to be not entirely necessary.
Lin’s answer: that one-to-one care component is what’s going to clinch the sale and get families on board with Envoy.
“Really when it comes to seniors, for this to work well we really need to do certain things in particular differently,” Lin said. “That 1:1 customer relationship, that really does make a big difference when it comes to having your own dedicated person. The trust factor is key.”