One of the most recent additions to the on-demand economic system is Papa, a cell app that connects school scholars with adults over 60 wanting improve and companionship.
The recent graduate of Y Combinator’s accelerator program has raised a $2.four million spherical of investment to extend its service during Florida and to 5 further states subsequent yr, starting with Pennsylvania. Initialized Capital led the spherical, with participation from Sound Ventures.
Headquartered in Miami, the startup used to be based ultimate yr by way of leader government officer Andrew Parker. The thought got here to him whilst he used to be juggling a full-time process at a startup and worrying for his grandfather, who had early onset dementia.
“I’ve always been a connector of humans,” Parker, the previous vp of well being programs at telehealth corporate MDLIVE, advised TechCrunch. “I’ve always naturally felt comfortable with all walks of life and all age groups and have just felt human connection is really critical.”
Seniors can request a “Papa Pal” the use of the corporate’s cell app, desktop web page or by way of telephone. The buddies can choose them up and take them out for an task or have them over to play a recreation, entire family chores, train them how you can use social media and different era or just to speak. A senior is matched with a pupil, who will have to entire a “rigorous” background test, in as low as 30 seconds.
Parker says there are 600 scholars running with Papa a median of 25 hours per 30 days.
“We’ve been fortunate that this is something the students really want to be part of,” he mentioned. “They aren’t doing this for a couple extra dollars. They are doing this to help the community.”
The service prices seniors $20 in keeping with hour, $12 of which is paid to the scholars and $eight is returned to Papa. It’s no longer a subscription-based service, however seniors pays for a top class choice that permits them to choose from 3 Papa Pals as an alternative of being randomly paired with one of the crucial a number of hundred choices. The scholars don’t supply any private care, like bathing or grooming. And they don’t seem to be a pick-up and drop-off service, like Uber or Lyft.
“We believe the Papa team has found a unique way to combat loneliness and depression in older adults,” mentioned Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and managing spouse of Initialized Capital, in a commentary. “The experience that Papa Pals bring their members make it seem like they are part of a family.”
In addition to increasing to new markets, Papa is within the technique of partnering with insurance coverage corporations with a function of permitting seniors to pay for a few of its products and services thru their Medicare plans.
“Loneliness is a crisis. It’s a disease. It’s killing people prematurely,” Parker mentioned. “We are providing a really massive impact to these people’s lives.”