Despite massive structural changes in the American healthcare system, proper care for the nation’s aging baby boomers remains out of reach for many people. Assisted living centers for our parents and grandparents suffering from dementia and Alzheimers can cost upwards of $5,000 per month and personal caregivers signed through agencies can easily cost considerably more.
A new startup, Kindly Care, is launching today with a $3.1 million investment led by MHS Capital, with participation from Floodgate and Jackson Square Ventures. The company, co-founded by startup veterans Igor Lebovic and Erik Fantasia, is rolling out a new marketplace that pairs up caregivers and care-managers so that loved ones don’t have to be left behind simply because they cannot afford one-on-one attention from traditional care providers.
“For me this was a very personal investment,” said Mark Sugarman, a partner at MHS Capital. “I was thinking about family members suffering from dementia who ended up needing care for 5-8 years. People don’t want to go to the old age home.”
To differentiate itself from other companies in the space like Care.com, Kindly Care personally vets every caregiver that signs on to its platform. This means that users can remain confident that any certifications listed are genuine and all caregivers are serious about offering their services.
To make the process of finding help more transparent, every caregiver must record an introductory video. Falling somewhere between an interview and profile, each video features identical questions about why workers decided to become caregivers, what advice they would give to peers, and who their most memorable client was. In this case, the formulaic nature of the videos actually works to the advantage of the user because it allows for effortless comparisons.
Not only does Kindly Care support the hiring of caregivers, it also supports time management and scheduling while streamlining a lot of the tax and compliance requirements that can make the job inaccessible and burdensome. This means automating payroll and on-boarding so workers don’t have to be weighted down by the complexities of social security and medicare.
The platform does a good job of distributing power across involved stakeholders. Caregivers get to set their own prices on the marketplace and care for as many people as is feasible. Care-managers get transparency into the daily mechanics of care, even seeing the locations that caregivers check-in from. This helps to curb negligence while allowing care-managers to stay involved in the lives of their loved ones by tracking regular health and scheduling reports.
To date, there are 5,000 people on the platform offering their care to those in need across California and Texas. Growth is restricted by statewide regulations, but Sugarman believes its reasonable to expect rapid domestic growth and doesn’t put future international expansion out of the question.