MIAMI, Oct. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Papa, a company committed to helping seniors throughout their aging journey by providing “Grandkids on Demand,” today announced the completion of a $10 million Series A round led by Canaan, with additional investment from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates. Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and Sound Ventures re-invested in the round. In addition, Papa announced partnerships with multiple large health insurance plans, including Humana, Aetna, Priority Health and Alignment Healthcare. Papa will use the proceeds from the financing to expand its services to a broader population of older adults, via partnerships with additional insurance plans and employee benefit providers. Papa will also expand its service footprint in 2020 to 25 states to address demand from new health plan commitments. As part of the financing, Canaan principal Byron Ling will join the company’s board.
Papa was founded in 2016 to connect college and nursing students, known as “Papa Pals,” to older adults who need assistance with transportation, house chores, technology lessons, and other services. By providing companionship to seniors who lack access to social networks, Papa seeks to curb social isolation and loneliness, which researchers have shown has the same impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.1
“Our mission at Papa is to end the loneliness epidemic among seniors by connecting two distinct generations – energetic, enthusiastic college students, and older adults in need of companionship and assistance,” said Andrew Parker, Papa’s founder and chief executive officer. “The idea behind Papa came from an experience my family had helping my aging grandfather, who we called Papa. We hired a college student to assist him and provide social interaction. Since then, we have grown rapidly, filling a massive void in care for seniors who want to live independently and need some support, which previously had no obvious solution. The Series A funding and our partnerships with insurance providers will allow us to expand and support more older adults with a positive experience.”
“Papa is an early leader in the elder tech field, developing a truly unique solution to the loneliness epidemic,” said Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and managing partner at Initialized Capital. “Initialized was an early investor in Papa and we continue to be impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of Andrew and the Papa team. We’re inspired by their efforts to bring the benefits of digital healthcare to an older generation of Americans all over the United States.”
Papa Pals undergo a rigorous screening and training process, before being matched to seniors enrolled in the program. Once enrolled, Papa provides the technology for both groups to manage their experience, including a member app that enables seniors and their caregivers to request visits; and an app for Papa Pals to track and manage visits. Additionally, the company’s logistics platform includes an administrative tool for managing its members, onboarding new Papa Pals, and managing billing.
Papa is currently available in 14 states, including Ark., Calif., Fla., GA., Ill., Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Miss., Mo., Pa., S.C., and Texas, and will expand to a total of 25 states in 2020. By partnering with Humana, Aetna, Priority Health and Alignment Healthcare, Papa services available to members can include companionship, non-emergency transportation to medical appointments and food shopping, basic house help, and general organizational assistance.
“A broad, diverse, and growing number of stakeholders and policymakers recognize that Social Determinants of Health like loneliness are important to health outcomes,” said Caraline Coats, VP, Bold Goal and Population Health Strategy at Humana. “We’re very excited to partner with Papa to further review how this type of intervention may be beneficial to members in our Medicare Advantage markets. We know that living conditions significantly influence health outcomes, and Papa is both helping seniors improve their day-to-day lives while also providing relief to the family members who help care for them.”
“Papa is using technology to create a new class of caregiving that empowers the lives of seniors through enhanced mobility, reduced loneliness, and greater autonomy. With a novel approach that connects seniors with vetted and trusted talent seeking flexible employment, Papa’s platform allows health plans and families to impact health outcomes while radically improving the day to day lives of seniors,” said Byron Ling, principal at Canaan. “Andrew and the Papa leadership team are pioneering the elder technology market, a category of products and services being built today that will represent a paradigm shift in how seniors and their families live tomorrow.”
In addition to its insurance plan partners, Papa also announced a partnership with New Benefits, an employee benefits provider. Through the partnership, employees can enroll in Papa and use the service to provide care to the older adults in their families.
- Holt-Lunstad J, TB, Layton JB. 2010. Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS Medicine.
Papa is a digital health company providing “Grandkids on Demand” to older adults, for assistance with transportation, house chores, technology lessons, and other senior services. Papa’s mission is to help cure the loneliness epidemic among older adults in America. Papa is currently available to senior citizens throughout Ark., Calif., Fla., GA., Ill., Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Miss., Mo., Pa., S.C., and Texas. For more information, visit Papa on Twitter and Facebook.
Canaan is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas. With $5 billion raised over eleven funds, Canaan has invested in some of the world’s leading technology and health care companies over the past 30 years with nearly 200 exits. Canaan’s focus areas include fintech, SaaS, marketplace, e-commerce, biopharma, digital health and medtech. To learn more about our people and our portfolio, please visit canaan.com.
About Pivotal Ventures
Pivotal Ventures is an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates. We partner with organizations and individuals who share our urgency for social progress in the United States. Together, we grow understanding around issues, expand participation, encourage cooperation and fuel new approaches that substantially improve people’s lives.
About Initialized Capital
Initialized is an early stage venture capital firm with $500 million under management started by founders, for founders. We know what it’s like to start and grow a new company and have helped more founders at the earliest possible stages than most anyone you’ll meet. With collective experience in disciplines across the industry – from engineering, product design, and brand marketing to media relations and public policy – we bring relentlessness, fierceness, and agility to VC.
About Sound Ventures
Sound Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary. At Sound, we believe that investors have enormous power and responsibility to help create the world we want to see, and we look to partner with visionary founders building a better future. With decades of building and managing global brands, plus access to a unique network beyond venture, we invest to help companies win.
About Y Combinator
Y Combinator (YC) is a startup fund and program. Since 2005, YC has invested in over 2,000 companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, Instacart, and Docker. The combined valuation of YC companies is over $150B. YC has programs and resources that support founders throughout the life of their company. Startup School teaches the basics of starting a company. The YC batch program helps founders as they build their product, talk to their customers, and raise funding. Work at a Startup makes it easy for founders to find their first engineers. YC Series A helps founders launch their A round. YC Growth Program provides founders with resources to scale their companies and hire an executive team, and YC Continuity invests in their later stage rounds.
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