San Francisco-based Envoy Inc. has raised $3 million in seed funding for an app that helps people care for their aging parents without putting them into assisted living or hiring in-home senior care before they need it. SoftTech VC led the investment.
The startup is tapping into a potentially large market. According to research from AARP, an estimated 34.2 million American adults have been an unpaid caregiver to someone age 50 or older in the past year. Most of these caregivers took care of a parent, parent-in-law or spouse. On average, recipients of this care are 74.7 years old.
Envoy isn’t alone. Andreessen Horowitz backed competitors Honor Technology in April, providing $15 million of a $20 million Series A, with Marc Andreessen joining the company’s board of directors.
Envoy’s mobile app lets family members find, communicate with and pay for a prescreened family . These helpers agree to go to a senior’s home for various errands for at least 2 hours a week at a cost of about $99 a month. The company offers $1 million of liability insurance with its service.
Operating in 17 U.S. cities today, the Envoy app requires assistants to check in, sending notifications and photos to family members on an account. These serve to verify each visit to a senior who needs help, and detail the specific errands an assistant has completed, such as shoveling snow or taking a senior to medical appointments. The reporting capabilities give adult children of older parents peace of mind, says Envoy CEO Justin Lin.
If users want to, they can opt to have Envoy assistants spend more time helping the older adults in their family, for a higher monthly fee.
Envoy’s assistants are typically stay-at-home-moms who want to make some income during the week but who need to maintain a flexible schedule, the company said.
Read VentureWire for the full story including what Envoy plans to do with the funding.