Josh Bruno was lucky to be able to spend more time than most with his grandfather, who lived to be 98. But the last five years were a chaotic, tumultuous time, Bruno says.
The problem was how to care for his grandfather. Trying to take on caring for a senior can quickly sap the energy of a family, and hiring a caregiver can be a terrifying experience. You just don’t know what you’re going to get, Bruno says.
“Only 20% of the time a caregiver sticks,” Bruno says. Bruno attributes that statistic to a lack of professionalization in the caregiving industry, which often uses independent contractors who lack training, adequate compensation, and a viable career path.
Bruno’s startup, Hometeam, is one of a few long-term senior-care companies trying to upend that model using technology and more rigorous training and accountability for caregivers.
On Monday, Hometeam announced a partnership with CareOne, a New Jersey healthcare provider that discharges 20,000 patients every year.
While some technology companies, like Uber, have shaken up traditional industries by movingtowardthe flexibility that comes with independent contractors, Hometeam took the opposite approach.
“At first, we were a manual company,” Bruno says. Hometeam developed a training system and brought all its caregivers, which now number about 1,000, onto its payroll as W2 employees. Bruno wanted to move away from the unreliability of the independent-contractor model.
Why hadn’t the industry moved this way before?
“Most [legacy] companies couldn’t use [venture capital] money to invest in training,” Bruno says. Hometeam has raised $38.5 million to date. The company is betting that with scale it can provide a return on that investment.
After creating an employee model, the tech platform came next.
Hometeam provides a matching model for patients and caregivers around not just medical needs, but also things like shared interests. The platform gives families an increased check-in ability as well, via an iPad in every home.
For this combination of training and tech, Hometeam clients pay about $24 to $25 an hour. And clients on average receive 44 hours a week of care, Bruno says.
Using these numbers, and the 1,000 active and full-time caregivers Hometeam employs, Hometeam could be pulling in more than $54 million in yearly revenue (assuming close to a full placement of caregivers on payroll).
Hometeam isn’t the only startup going after this space with tech.
Hometeam operates in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but it hopes to expand to 10 new markets by the end of 2016.