Nursing shortages were an issue in the United States even before the global pandemic, but as the health care industry transformed and adapted to the needs brought on by COVID-19, it exacerbated the issue.
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That’s where Apploi comes in: The New York-based company provides recruiting, onboarding and credentialing software designed for high-volume health care hires, particularly nurses. Its platform simplifies this process by enabling users to source and attract applicants, then manage the interviewing process, all while collecting documentation and verifying credentials along the way.
To continue developing this technology, Apploi raised $8 million in funding, led by Underscore VC, with participation from existing investors such as Defy.vc. In total, Apploi received $12.5 million in investments, including a $5.5 million seed round, according to Adam Lewis, Apploi CEO.
“We saw health care as a big need, including the demand for nursing staff,” Lewis told Crunchbase News. “This was a problem pre-pandemic, but has gotten higher since then. Health care is well-known to be in high demand, but is slow to onboard.”
The average onboarding period is 40 days, but Apploi’s platform reduces that process to 10 days or less, meaning many health care facilities could get nurses hired and started in less than a week, he added.
The country’s nursing shortage is expected to increase, driven by aging baby boomers, the need for health care growing and not enough students entering nursing programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2019-2029 reported that Registered Nursing is among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2029, with workforce numbers predicted to grow from 3 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2029, an increase of 7 percent. However, it also projects there will be 175,900 openings for RNs each year through 2029.
At the same time, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported a 5.1 percent enrollment increase in entry-level baccalaureate programs in nursing in 2019, but noted that was “not sufficient to meet the projected demand for nursing services, including the need for more nurse faculty, researchers and primary care providers.”
Addressing the problem
One of the challenges of recruiting and onboarding new nurses is the traditional use of PDFs combined with potential candidates not having access to computers or the ability to scan and send back paperwork, Lewis said.
“By making this an automated process that is mobile enabled, candidates can easily find the position and start the application process with a few clicks,” he added.
Apploi technically got started in 2014, but pivoted in 2017 to the SaaS end-to-end recruitment and onboarding platform it is today, Lewis said. Since then, it has amassed more than 4,000 facilities as customers and 5 million resumes, growing by 100 percent in 2020.
Last year, the company also made its first acquisition, bringing in HealthGig, a credential management startup that helps professionals manage their careers online. As a result, Apploi will unveil a new employee credential and document management product in April, Lewis said.
The additional funding will help Apploi accelerate its growth as well as shift to sales and marketing.
“Our sales growth has mostly been inbound from health care companies using it and passing it around,” Lewis said. “We want to focus on outbound now and repeat that growth in 2021 looking at long-term care, home care, assisted living, community hospitals and clinical urgent care.”
What investors have to say
As part of the investment, John Pearce, co-founder and partner at Underscore VC, will join Apploi’s board of directors. Pearce met Lewis years ago at a point when Apploi was not ready to raise capital, but wanted to learn more about the platform.
The firm has a focus on B2B software and is attracted to startups focused on digitization of the world and the future of work. That fit with Apploi in the health care space, which was a large, growing marketplace with diverse use cases and was underserved, Pearce said in an interview.
“They built a platform by combining simplicity of adoption, as well as simplicity of functionality,” he added. “The team, solution and benefit brought to the customer, and the way in which customers were pleased with the software, got us excited to partner with the company.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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