Floridian company matching seniors to college students raises $10M

Papa's Series A round was led by Canaan with participation from Pivotal Ventures, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and Sound Ventures.
By Laura Lovett
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This morning Papa, a startup connecting seniors to college and nursing students to stave off isolation, landed $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Canaan with participation from Pivotal Ventures, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and Sound Ventures. 

This comes a year after the company announced a $2.4 million seed funding roundwhich was led by Initialized Capital. 

WHAT THEY DO

The Miami, Florida-based startup created a digital tool to link older adults in need of assistance with a college or nursing student. The students, referred to as “Papa Pals,” can assist seniors with chores, tech lessons, companionship and other needs. 

Users first access a free consultant to learn about how the service could work for them. They can then access the service by downloading the app, texting or calling. From there, seniors request a visit from one of the college students. The visits cost $20 per hour, and users are billed by the minute after the first hour. 

The startup has been around for about a year now after being launched as part of the Summer 2018 Y Combinator accelerator program.

WHAT IT’S FOR 

Papa plans to use the new funds to expand its services through more partnerships with insurance plans and employee benefit providers. By next year, the company plans to be active in 25 states, and today’s news coincided with the announcement that Papa was teaming up with employer benefits provider New Benefits. 

Papa has already inked a number of deals with insurers. For example, in November it partnered with Humana to support those covered under Medicare Advantage. It also struck a deal with medication adherence company AdhereHealth, so that the latter’s payer-focused platform will include the option to deploy Papa Pals. 

MARKET SNAPSHOT 

This funding announcement comes roughly a week after Mon Amia California-based startup that also matches seniors to college students, announced a $3.4 million raise in seed funding. 

While these two startups are specifically focused on matching college students to seniors, 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

“Papa is using technology to create a new class of caregiving that empowers the lives of seniors through enhanced mobility, reduced loneliness and greater autonomy. With a novel approach that connects seniors with vetted and trusted talent seeking flexible employment, Papa’s platform allows health plans and families to impact health outcomes while radically improving the day to day lives of seniors,” Byron Ling, principal at Canaan, said in a statement. “Andrew [Parker, Papa's founder and CEO] and the Papa leadership team are pioneering the elder technology market, a category of products and services being built today that will represent a paradigm shift in how seniors and their families live tomorrow.”