This morning Mon Ami, a new digital platform that links college students to seniors, announced that it has secured its first $3.4 million in seed funding. Freestyle Ventures and Cowboy Ventures led the round, with participation from Maverick Ventures, Felicis Ventures and angel investor Bruce Dunlevie.
WHAT THEY DO
It all began when co-founders Madeline Dangerfield-Cha and Joy Zhang met at Stanford University when they were MBA students and found a mutual interest in senior issues.
“My grandmother is my best friend, so hanging out with older people and being a companion has come really naturally to both of us, and we were thinking of ways to alleviate the stress, pain and guilt that we were hearing from people with loved ones especially dealing with dementia,” Dangerfield-Cha told MobiHealthNews.
This hatched the idea for Mon Ami, a digital platform that could connect college students to seniors living with loneliness or dementia. The way it works is college students can apply through the platform to be a companion for an older person. They are then vetted by the team and matched with a senior based on similar interests and language. The idea is to benefit both the senior and the college student.
“For college students, they are living alone and away from families and missing grandparents and caring experience,” Dangerfield-Cha said. “This can also be part of professional development if they are pre-med, pre-social work.”
The caregiver pays $25 an hour for the visit, and the college student receives $20 an hour.
WHAT IT’S FOR
The company plans to put this new cash toward growing the number of cities the platform caters to as well as further developing the product. Currently, the platform is only available in California.
As population continues to age, more technology companies are looking for ways to tackle the loneliness epidemic. Perhaps the most similar to Mon Ami is the startup Papa. Through the service, seniors can request a college student to help with transportation, household chores, technology lessons and companionship. Last year the company raised $2.4 million in funding.
Connecting elders to home healthcare services has also been a key area of growth in recent years. For example, in May, care coordination platform Honor closed a $50 million Series C funding round.
ON THE RECORD
“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,” Zhang said in a statement. “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.”