The Agetech Newsletter is back and better than ever! I’m excited to announce that Allison Becker, who runs the Aging2.0 New York chapter with me, has joined to help compile the latest in Agetech news. Allison comes to us with a deep background in aging innovation, having worked with startups like Audicus, Pixie, and Silverbills addressing issues in the health, financial wellness, and lifestyle spaces. She also received a master’s in Journalism from Columbia, so expect some next-level output from us going forward.
With COVID-19 currently dominating the headlines we’d be remiss to not talk about it here. Unsurprisingly, the senior care industry is scrambling to figure out how to mitigate its effects since older adults are particularly susceptible. Many communities, like Aegis Living Marymoor in Redmond, WA, are instituting “community-wide isolation,” barring visitors, closing dining rooms and canceling group activities. While these measures protect residents from the virus, they have the potential to exacerbate existing issues - social isolation being chief among them - as well as restrict access to needed medical professionals.
Agetech companies can alleviate many of these problems: telemedicine can be used to access medical professionals even when quarantined; on-demand staffing companies can be used to replace caregivers that call out sick; simple video call technologies like Facetime and OneClick.chat can help families stay in contact with their loved ones without them having to resort to knocking on windows; and the list goes on. For any of these to provide widespread benefits, however, operators need to get on the bandwagon and start implementing these technologies quickly, something that they’ve traditionally been terrible at in even the best of times.
Hope this newsletter provides a brief distraction. Enjoy!
On-demand staffing is having its day in the sun
Ask any senior living, home care, or medical provider what their number one issue is and they’ll all give you the same answer: staffing. Providers do not have nearly enough caregivers to support their operations, forcing them to pay large amounts of overtime and even turn away potential new clients. Many startups are being founded to combat these staffing shortages, and one sub-sector that is seeing explosive growth is “on-demand staffing”. While more of a bandaid than solution, these companies are providing tremendous value by helping providers solve their short-term staffing challenges.
Intelycare raised a $45mm Series B round for its AI platform that matches nurses and CNAs with shift work. Medtech PE firm Endeavour Vision led the round, which also included Kaiser Permanente and Generator Ventures. Now that the company employs more than 11,000 nurses, it plans to invest much of the new funding on advancing its data science to reduce nurse burnout and turnover. As one of the leaders in this burgeoning industry, and with a ton of cash at play, it’ll be exciting to see what they can accomplish.
Gento raised $5mm for its on-demand clinician marketplace. The Series A round, led by Palisades Growth Capital, will help Gento expand to Florida and New York, and improve its tech offerings. Five thousand clinicians are already on the app, which is available in cities including Las Vegas, Chicago, and Houston, and in the states of New Jersey and California.
NurseDash, one of the first movers in the on-demand staffing space, is expanding beyond hospitals and into senior living. The company unlocks extra capacity in overstretched markets by allowing caregivers to easily pick up unfilled shifts in nearby facilities. This is a win for everyone as caregivers are able to supplement their income, while facilities are able to staff up and reduce overtime costs. Additionally, NurseDash is expanding its offerings to other roles facing shortages including specialty nursing and technicians.
Canada-based AlayaCare, which develops software solutions for home care providers, has acquired New York-based Arrow Solutions. Frustrated by bloated and expensive offerings, industry veterans Michael Appel & Oren Waldman founded Arrow to help agencies simplify their day-to-day operational complexities. “The acquisition of Arrow Solutions is the cornerstone of our expansion into the U.S. Medicaid market and beyond,” said Adrian Schauer, AlayaCare founder & CEO.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, this acquisition is likely the one the company hinted at in January when it closed a $47.9mm CAD extension of its Series C. AlayaCare has been on an acquisition streak as of late having just acquired Procura, one of its largest global competitors. Founded in 2014, the company has already raised over $115.8 million CAD and acquired 4 companies, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.
Intuition Robotics, creator of the highly publicized Elli-Q robot, has raised $36mm in its Series B round led by SPARX Group and OurCrowd, a crowd-funding platform. The company has been an exceptional fundraiser, having obtained a total of $58mm since its founding in 2015 from notable names like Bloomberg Beta, iRobot, and Toyota AI Ventures.
Interestingly, however, all that cash has yet to produce a commercial product. Elli-Q was available for pre-order throughout 2019 but now is only available for demonstration purposes. As we mentioned in our first newsletter, social robots have had a tough time finding success in this market, and it’s likely that the $1,500 price tag wasn’t helping either. With the company announcing the development of an assistant for Toyota vehicles, we won’t be surprised if they soon announce that they’re pivoting away from the older market altogether.
As more providers turn to telemedicine, startups benefit
Back in 2010, President Obama proposed ‘Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan’ in large part to facilitate the advancement of the burgeoning telemedicine industry. Almost a decade later we’re finally starting to see this growth with the launch and funding of companies like Third Eye Health, Tembo Health, and:
Wheel, a platform that helps telemedicine companies launch and expand their offerings, raised a $13.9 million Series A. Initially a marketplace connecting telehealth providers with licensed physicians, the company plans to use the funding to move into compliance, helping clients navigate the complex regulatory & legal requirements as they expand. Navigating these issues is often a major roadblock for companies, making Wheel an even more valuable partner for telehealth providers looking to scale.
Connecticut-based Tapestry, which bills itself as an entire medical center at the patients’ bedside, raised a Series A round led by Sopris Capital. While Tapestry originally focused on servicing rural SNFs, it plans to expand its services into urban areas and beyond. “We have a big plan to push into home care [...] where we can manage chronically ill populations the same way as we do when they live in the nursing home,” said Tapestry COO Mordy Eisenberg.
And this brings our newsletter to an end. We’re Max Zamkow & Allison Becker from Aging2.0 New York and Third Act Ventures, a venture firm that invests specifically in startups working to make life better for older adults and their caregivers. If you have any comments or questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!