Originally published by Technical.ly on May 9, 2022
Nurse duo Anthony Scarpone-Lambert and Jennifferre Mancillas set out in 2020 to build an online resource and marketplace they felt their healthcare community desperately needed.
With staff low and burnout higher than ever, the pair built Lumify Care — the startup behind the uNight Light that landed them in Y Combinator — while Scarpone-Lambert was wrapping up his degree at the University of Pennsylvania. The hands-free device is meant to illuminate a workspace while decreasing patient sleep disturbances. Within a few weeks, they’d sold thousands of units.
But over the last year, the founders have been expanding Lumify’s offerings. The startup recently raised a $1.25 million seed round with participation from Y Combinator, Flare Capital, Gaingels, Fresco Capital, Crista Galli Ventures, and individual investors, like Philly founder Mark Switaj, of Roundtrip.
“Jennifferre and I didn’t start Lumify the tech company as engineers. We had frontline perspective,” Scarpone-Lambert said. “Up until end of Y Combinator and the start of this raise, we were building products ourselves, creating scrappy MVPs that really allowed us to focus on what users want. We were not distracted on trying to perfect the product.”
But the team was ready to make that change to allow itself to grow. It’s hired engineers, and is focusing on product talent as well as nurse-led content creation for its platform. Mancillas remains in California while Scarpone-Lambert splits his time between Philly and the West Coast, and the rest of their team is fully distributed.
While the platform once hosted affiliate links to products nurses need, it launched Friday — the beginning of National Nurses Week — with its own collection of vetted and mostly healthcare professional-founded products on its iOS app. (Download the app here.) In addition to the uNight Light, the company is expanding its product offerings to include items like under scrubs and compression socks.
The marketplace offers a points system to get cash back on purchases, as nurses spend thousands each year on their own gear, certifications and scrubs, the founding duo said. And the Lumify team is beginning to introduce the points feature as a benefit that hospital systems can offer to their staff to prevent burnout.
“We’re finding it’s much better and more effective than a pizza party,” Scarpone-Lambert said.
Lumify also expanded its resources to include helping nurses find new jobs, trade advice, and get access to mental health resources. It’s about to head on an eight-city tour to meet with hospital systems and bring in new users, an initiative that speaks to the founders’ goal of trying to meet and serve healthcare workers where they are.
Two years in, the first-time founders are finding their footing in the tech world. The Lumify Care platform has about 50,000 users and 150 brand partners, per the duo. They feel uniquely qualified to be serving the healthcare community amid a tumultuous stretch in history.
“We definitely found out what a roller coaster founder life is. In order to fill any sort of success you have to go through the growing pains, and to get on other side of that, you have to be incredibly passionate about what you’re building,” Mancillas said. “Building for your own profession is a constant drive. We heard in one user interview that Lumify was the sunshine in healthcare right now. It spoke to what we wanted to do.”