– Mon Ami raises $3.4M in seed funding led by Freestyle Ventures and Cowboy Ventures to tackle social isolation in aging.
– By pairing older adults with college students for social visits, Mon Ami’s marketplace focuses on life enrichment, not just life extension and fills a much-needed gap in the home care service industry.
Mon Ami, a Palo Alto, CA-based digital health company tackling social isolation in aging, today announced the closing of its $3.4M seed financing led by Freestyle Ventures and Cowboy Ventures. The seed round also included participation from Maverick Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and angel investor Bruce Dunlevie.
Epidemic of Social Isolation, Loneliness in Seniors
About 28 percent of older adults in the United States, or 13.8 million people, live alone, according to a report by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but many of them are not lonely or socially isolated. At the same time, some people feel lonely despite being surrounded by family and friends.
What our culture tends to overlook is that beyond care for basic physical needs, companionship and meaningful human connection play a key role in healthy aging and has been shown to greatly improve quality of life. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, both social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality in adults aged 52 and older.
Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. People who find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation are at particular risk.
Providing Companions to Seniors, Offering Relief to Overburdened Family Caregivers
By pairing college students with seniors for social visits, Mon Ami’s marketplace focuses not just on life extension but life enrichment and fills a much-needed gap in the senior care service industry. Families can easily connect with energetic, compassionate college students to provide companionship and friendship for a loved one. Founded on the belief that intergenerational relationships will build stronger communities, Mon Ami is creating meaningful connections with the world’s fastest growing population. The goal is not to provide traditional caregiving but helping families find good company so that older loved ones stay socially connected.
How It Works
Families can book a Mon Ami activity companion for their loved one by calling (650) 691 – 5796 or fill out an online interest form for a free consultation. Mon Ami will match your loved one to a companion based on their interests. Mon Ami charges $25/hr for companion visits with no hourly minimum cap. During the visit, companions play games, go on walks, sing, dance, paint, read, and help with memoir-writing. After each visit, companions will report back about their experience with your loved one by sharing a photo and description of the visit. On average, companions visit loved ones two times per week for 2-3 hours each visit.
The seed funding will go towards expansion into additional cities as well as overall company growth. The service is currently available in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Daly City, Berkeley, Oakland, Redwood City, San Mateo, Millbrae, Burlingame, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose, Los Gatos, and Marin County.
Why It Matters
“There is so much worry, fear, and feelings of immense responsibility that fall on the shoulders of families and individuals caring for aging parents or loved ones. But more than anything, there is a feeling of wanting to do what is best,” said Joy Zhang, Mon Ami co-founder. “There are a myriad of ways to ensure physical safety and care for aging loved ones, but what’s hardest to provide is everything that makes us human: joy, connection, meaning and enrichment. That’s what Mon Ami does best.”