– Papa raises $10M in Series A funding to expand “grandkids on-demand” platform to help reduce social isolation in seniors.
– Adds partnerships with multiple large health insurance plans, including Humana, Aetna, Priority Health and Alignment Healthcare.
– Papa will use the funding to expand its services to a broader population of older adults, via partnerships with additional insurance plans and employee benefits provider.
Papa, a digital health company that provides “grandkids on demand” to older adults to help cure the loneliness epidemic, today announced a $10 million Series A led by Canaan with participation from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates. Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and Sound Ventures re-invested in the round.
Impact of Social Isolation 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.
Grandkids On-Demand, Assistance Service to Help Seniors Stay Independent
Founded in 2016, Papa leverages the gig economy to help cure the loneliness epidemic among older adults in America (loneliness affects at least 1 in 3 older Americans and has the same impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day). The company connects older adults with college students, who are looking for part-time/gig economy employment. The students offer companionship but also rides, help around the house and other tasks. Major health plans pick up the bill because the company has demonstrated the service can significantly improve health outcomes for older people.
How It Works
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.
New Partnerships with Large Insurance Plans & Employee Benefits Provider
In addition to the funding, Papa announced partnerships with multiple large health insurance plans, including Humana, Aetna, Priority Health and Alignment Healthcare. 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.
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.
Expansion Plans for Papa
Papa will use the Series A funding 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.
“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.”
Availability in 14 States
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.