Loneliness was a problem with seniors before everyone had to stay home during the pandemic, something Papa is working to combat.
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The Miami-based startup was formed in 2018 to pair older adults and families with “Papa Pals” for companionship and assistance with everyday tasks. Papa works through insurance carriers such as Medicare, Medicaid and employer benefits.
“We are trying to reduce the isolation and other social determinants that were exacerbated by COVID-19,” Papa founder and CEO Andrew Parker told Crunchbase News. “Older adults are not able to jump onto a Peloton or go out for food. They need help to get prescriptions and food, connect to technology, and navigate their health care benefits.”
Now Papa has raised $18 million for its Series B round led by Comcast Ventures. Additional investors in this round include Canaan, Initialized Capital, Sound Ventures, Pivotal Ventures with Magnify Ventures, Scott Belsky, the founders of Flatiron Health and their group Operator Partners, and other high-profile investors. This brings the company’s total funding raised to $31 million to date, which includes a $10 million Series A round from October 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
Papa is already operating in 17 states and will use the new funding to be in all 50 of them by January, Parker said. The new funding will also be used to add health plans, employees and Papa Pals, people who are licensed and join Papa as gig employees, he added.
In addition, the company is ramping up to support its recent growth, which includes a five-time increase in membership and working with more than 20 health plans. Papa has also grown 20 percent month over month during the last two years.
As such, Papa will be adding to its 120 employees in the areas of engineering and product development, as well as in its care center, Parker said.
Next up, the company will continue to expand its footprint and tech platform to support it.
“We aim to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs for older adults” Parker said. “When people are alone or food insecure, research shows that those social determinants drive 80 percent of health outcomes. We are here to make sure they have their medicine, talk to their doctor and have food in the refrigerator.”
Photo courtesy of Papa
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias