In the midst of a healthcare crisis, concierge start-up Wellthy raises $ 35 million in Series B


For most of her professional life, Lindsay Jurist-Rosner led what she calls a “secret double life” caring for her mother, who suffered from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Lawyer-Rosner, who moved home after college and stayed there for most of her twenties, is said to help her mother have breakfast, go to work, come home to check in for lunch, return to work, and then resume duty during the evening. She barely told her friends or colleagues what exactly she was doing or how difficult it could be.

“The logistical and administrative aspects of care are, I think, the most complicated part” of being a caretaker, says Juriste-Rosner. “The MS part was almost simple: doctors prescribed treatments; my mom had specialists she would see a few times a year, but it was the day to day things that were choking for us to navigate and settle in.

In 2009, while graduating from Harvard Business School, the lawyer-Rosner had an idea that she believed could help her and the millions of other Americans in similar situations (which represents 53 million people today, or more than 20% of the American adult population): a care coordination service that would provide a multitude of care experts who could help families navigate the labyrinthine systems of Medicare, Medicaid and long term care. She even had a name for it – Wellthy – and bought the domain for that year. But it would take another five years (and daily jobs in marketing roles at Microsoft and Simulmedia) to groom the idea and prepare for life as an entrepreneur. Juriste-Rosner officially launched the service in 2014.

Since then, for much of its existence, Wellthy has flown under the radar. It started as a direct service to consumers and spread to employers, as a benefit offering, in 2017. Over the past four years Jurist-Rosner has quietly amassed a premier business book. plan that includes all the heavyweights of Silicon Valley. —Such as Facebook, Accenture, Cisco and Salesforce — to manufacturing and media companies like Kohler, Ashcroft, Palmolive and Colgate, Hearst and News Corp. And now, says Jurist-Rosner Forbes Exclusively, Wellthy has raised $ 35 million in Series B funding which it will use to increase its workforce (it is looking to add at least 50 to the 200-person team) and expand Wellthy’s care coordination services. in the UK and Canada.

“As much as caregiving is an American sandwich generation problem, it is also a global problem,” says Jurist-Rosner.

The oversubscribed funding round, which brings the company’s total funding to $ 50 million, was led by Rethink Impact, America’s largest venture capital fund focused on female founders solving problems through technology. Rethink Founder and Managing Partner Jenny Abramson said she was drawn to the company both because of Jurist-Rosner’s vision and the potential returns Wellthy can generate.

“When you think of the care space worth $ 111 billion and growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 11%, it’s a really interesting market,” Abramson said. Forbes. “About 20% of employees, at least in the data we saw, provided additional care to children or adults with special needs in the past 12 months alone. And that’s one area where as baby boomers get older it’s just going to grow. “

Tit will need to grow up, but the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the systemic issues that already exist and have long been in place in the delivery of care in America. More than two million women were kicked out of the U.S. workforce last year to care for a dependent or family member in need, and a recent study by Time’s Up found that One-third of all American employees quit their jobs in order to handle an “unfulfilled” care responsibility.

This same Time’s Up study found that most employers significantly underestimate the number of their employees who take on the equivalent of a second job by caring for a loved one: these companies assumed that 25% of their labor force had caring duties when in fact the number was nearly 75%, or three in four.

Wellthy helps employees navigate tricky care scenarios by leveraging the expertise of social workers who have a background in this type of work. There is a “Wellthy University” training so that social workers who wish to become a Wellthy care coordinator are aware of the specific needs of Wellthy clients; once they’re officially on board, they can help families with everything from finding home health aids and scheduling doctor appointments, to disputing insurance bills, to ‘getting drug discounts or even, in the Covid era, getting vaccine appointments. Wellthy users can follow it all on a digital healthcare dashboard.

For employers, the service costs $ 300 per employee per month of need; for individuals, $ 350 per month. The average “care plan”, as Jurist-Rosner describes it, lasts three months. But she and investor Abramson argue that the time savings are worth it. “When you save that kind of money for employees and their families, it’s a huge benefit,” says Abramson. “They find that 55% of users recovered more than 10 hours of work when they started using Wellthy, and 33% of people who use them said it prevented them from taking time off or quitting.”

Paurvi Bhatt is one of the latter group. Bhatt is the chairman of the Medtronic Foundation and the vice chairman of the philanthropic arm of the health tech company. Bhatt has dedicated her career to global health issues – she led the global health and corporate social responsibility efforts at Levi Strauss and Abbott, and before that led the economics and HIV / AIDS portfolios at USAID – and did so while being the primary caregiver for both parents.

An only child and second-generation South Asian immigrant for whom elderly care is a high family priority, Bhatt has long managed to juggle her career as a manager with her babysitting duties, which began when she was 28 and that his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage. . Ten years ago, with her mother in cancer treatment, Bhatt moved home to try to facilitate the gatekeeper lift, but two years ago, just before Covid hit, her mother was hospitalized and put under oxygen.

About 20% of employees provided additional care for children or adults with special needs in the past 12 months alone.

Jenny Abramson, Founder and Managing Partner of Rethink Impact

“I was sinking under a list of things that had to happen,” she said. “The healthcare journey to do anything, especially for older people, requires at least three follow-up and working-hour phone calls for everything. And then if you are confined to the house, how do you orchestrate everything that needs to happen at home? “

Around this time, Medtronic began offering Wellthy as an employee benefit, so Bhatt called on the service and was introduced to Stephanie, a Wellthy Care Coordinator who helped take over the administration of care. from Bhatt’s mother.

“It felt like I had an extra person on my day shift that I could delegate to, to do a part of that so that I could focus again on what everyone is asking of me during my job. by day, ”Bhatt says.

The rediscovered hours were transformational for Bhatt, who says she would have been ‘lost’ navigating her mother’s care on her own during Covid, and could see an alternate reality without Wellthy in which she has completely exited the workforce.

“It was the first thing I saw in my experience that was put in place to keep me [at work]. she said. “I may not have stayed, or who knows what would have happened. But I do know that Wellthy is largely helping me stay and you can’t underestimate the power of that.

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