Honor, the San Francisco-based company that is tackling the issues posed by a rapidly aging American society, is shifting closer to an on-demand model with Honor Now. The new product will bring customers a care coordinator either to them or their elderly family members within two hours.
CEO Seth Sternberg said that initially, he thought the company would be focused on scheduled care. But he found that many clients needed more immediate and unexpected attention. Some customers needed their parents picked up within a few-hour window, if they were being released from a doctor’s appointment.
“We will now be able to get you guaranteed care within two hours of you pinging us,” he said. “This is particularly meaningful for this industry.”
Sternberg said the company’s initial pilot in the counties ringing the San Francisco Bay already makes the company one of the five biggest care providers in the region. Honor is available from San Francisco to San Jose and on the Eastern side of the Bay through Contra Costa County.
With enough coverage and staffing of so-called CarePros, Sternberg said he felt comfortable adding more of an on-demand model to Honor’s existing business.
“We needed to have enough density in place to cover this,” he said. “It’s partly a tech thing and then even changing our operational structure. We needed to get a system where our CarePros can make it on time.”
Honor’s prices start at $25 an hour, and they pair an app with the service so that CarePros can report back to family members. The company is attacking one of the fastest-growing markets in the United States, as 10,000 each day turn 65. The population of Americans over 65 will double to 84 million by 2050. Although most won’t need to stay for lengthy periods in nursing homes, it is estimated by Brookings that about 70 percent will need some form of long-term care.
“Everybody in health care believes there’s been very little innovation or tech around the senior space,” said Sternberg, who is making the announcement with an appearance at an AARP event today. “Investors have kind of missed the boat on the senior space, but the thing is it needs to look and feel like a human service. We thought that 70 to 80 percent of our customers were going to be family members ordering for their parents. But half of our requests are coming from clients themselves. We’re coming into a generation where the parents are willing to be self-sufficient and are people who want to be in control of their destiny.”
Sternberg’s long-term vision is to create a company that obviates the need for retirement homes or assisted-living facilities, so that the elderly can age in the homes they’ve known. The 30-person startup has raised about $20 million from Andreessen Horowitz and other investors.