Papa, a Miami-grown startup using technology to coordinate in-home senior companionship, has notched $18 million in new funding. The Series B round was led by Comcast Ventures, but also included names like Canaan, Initialized Capital, Sound Ventures, Pivotal Ventures with Magnify Ventures, Operator Partners and others.
WHAT IT DOES
Papa's platform connects college and nursing students with seniors who might need help with tasks like transportation, grocery shopping, prescription pickups and technology comprehension – or those who are just in need of virtual or in-person companionship.
"Papa Pals" are staffed by the service and compensated up to $15 per hour, according to the company's website, and can manage their visit assignments through an app. Seniors, meanwhile, can use an app or call a hotline to schedule their visits.
Founded in 2017 and launched the following year, the startup primarily does its business with health plans and employers as a benefit, and with health system to support nonemergency medical transportation and other provider programs. The service now operates in 17 states and says that it has plans to expand to all 50 by the beginning of next year, noting 20% month-over-month growth that it believes has been accelerated due to COVID-19.
“We created Papa with the singular goal of supporting older adults and their families throughout the aging journey,” Andrew Parker, founder and CEO of Papa, said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately only intensified circumstances leading to loneliness and isolation, and we’re honored to be able to offer solutions to help families during this difficult time.”
To date, the company has raised $31 million in investment funding.
WHAT IT'S FOR
Papa said in its funding announcement that the money would go toward growing its staff and supporting the aforementioned regional expansion. The company also plans to further build out its tech platform.
A clear parallel to Papa comes from Mon Ami, another startup platform that looks to connect college students with seniors who are either isolated or living with dementia. Based in California, the company raised $3.4 million in seed funding late last year.
But with isolation and loneliness such a prevalent health risk, other technologies targeting these issues are also in the spotlight for senior care. Examples of these include video conversations, robotic pets and on-demand transportation services.