Jake Rothstein Spent almost six years scaling Father, a Miami-based company that provides care and support to seniors. The business, which connects elderly Americans with unproven-yet-verified friends, helps offer casual services, such as technology assistance, grocery delivery or even a fun conversation. It has raised over $91 million in venture capital to date.
The company gave Rothstein an in-depth look at the preferences of older adults and families as they go through the aging journey. And while Papa was about to meet elders to see where they are, it seems that in a few years, the co-founders began to ponder a more complex question: What if “where are they” isn’t as helpful as Should be 24. /7?
Rothstein left Papa in January 2020 to take a more modern take on senior living communities. UpsideHM There are fully managed, tech-enabled living spaces for older adults in the United States. Rothstein and his co-founder Peter Badgley, after completing a year of beta testing, today announced that they have raised a $2.25 million seed round for UpsideHome, led by Triple Impact Capital and Freestyle Capital, with participation from TechStars.
Alongside funding, UpsideHōM announced its next big bet, dubbed a relaunch, that will sit atop its fully furnished apartments that sit throughout Raleigh, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa and South Florida. : A software platform to take out all the clutter from the move-in. and maintenance. The platform will give residents a place to chat with their house manager, pay bills and access perks such as on-demand technical support, house-keeping and companion visits to partner with Papa. The company also provides add-on services and amenities, including freshly prepared meals, grocery delivery, fitness programming and transportation.
Part of UpsideHōM’s focus is creating personalized solutions. Veterans are diverse in age, needs and financial circumstances – meaning that turnkey solutions should be readily adapted to service needs when they pop up. The company needs to be careful though: it may not offer traditional caregiver services because of its state-by-state compliance; Instead Rothstein describes the offerings as ancillary services, not in replacement of health caregivers.
When the company first launched, it was betting on a more unconventional idea.
“I thought, let’s solve loneliness even more completely, which Papa is doing by building in companionship,” Rothstein said, instead of letting people order it on demand. The company decided to offer roommate matching services for the elderly as one of its core services, along with the aforementioned helpful living features. It didn’t stick at all. More than half of the inbound participants responded to the marketing effort by saying that they liked the idea, but did not want to share the location. Today, 50% of UpsideHōM businesses are involved in individuals or with a spouse or significant other; The other half consists of people who want to share units.
The synergy between UpsideHōM and Papa, Rothstein’s previous company, is evident beyond an overlapping customer base. Papa offers almost and almost including actual care, barring traditional care delivery services, which require its own revisions and compliance measures. UpsideHōM provides almost as far as traditional senior living services, but ancillary services instead of assisted living services, which likewise have their own logistical constraints to address.
As for why Rothstein didn’t launch assisted living services as a new product within his previous company, he chalked it up to the formerly “tremendous” opportunity it guaranteed his company. He also said that customer acquisition looks different between the two companies.
“At Papa, we found it incredibly challenging to acquire customers in this area. [so we went through] Medicare Advantage Route,” he said. “But senior life is an entirely different segment.”
Millions of new venture capital funds are coming in as UpsideHōM prepares for aggressive growth. While the company did not disclose revenue or total residents, it said it hit 1,000% in new resident headcount in the first half of 2021 as an unambiguous proxy. As the startup prepares for its next phase of growth, co-founders will need to focus heavily on sustainable customer acquisition.
Rothstein thinks there’s a simple logic to minimizing the elders into homes that work for them.
“You can age as long as it’s practical, but there will be a day and a time when it won’t be practical,” Rothstein said. “Why would you want to make this decision after you break a hip, run out of money, or the death of your spouse?”