Kindly Care Puts Agency-Grade Tools and Services into the Hands of Families
Kindly Care launched with $3.1 million in funding to expand its self-service care management platform, which provides private employers with the tools and services that are typically reserved for agencies and hospitals.
The funding was led by MHS Capital, with participation from Floodgate and Jackson Square Ventures. Kindly Care will use the funds to grow its unique suite of tools and services that empower families to be more in charge of the care for their elderly loved ones.
Working directly with private live-in caregivers instead of going through a home care agency can lead to massive savings. However, hiring and managing private employees is a monumental task, so families either outsource the care to an agency, or they cut corners and hire people without background checking them, setting up insurance, payroll, etc. Kindly Care was created to bridge that gap between the self-service model and managed services in elder care. Its platform includes many of the tools and services used by agencies, allowing families to enjoy the benefits of working with an agency without having to pay nearly as much.
One of the main challenges in hiring private caregivers is ensuring that they are trustworthy and qualified. Every caregiver on Kindly Care is screened and gets their own introductory video, where they speak about their experience, interests, and personal life. This allows families to narrow down their top candidates even before they connect with them via phone or in person. Every caregiver is also background checked, bonded, and insured.
The next challenge lies in complying with the Department of Labor’s ruling that most caregivers are employees and not independent contractors, which requires families to set up a payroll, pay taxes, register their employees, and much more. Kindly Care takes care of all compliance aspects and sets up families as employers of their caregivers who get W-2 status and hence qualify for unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and workers’ compensation insurance. Enabling families to provide some of the same benefits as agencies allows them to attract top talent and reduce turnover.
Finally, the day to day management of caregivers is made easier through Kindly Care’s free apps that are available on iOS, Android, and on the web. The elders’ adult children use those apps to schedule shifts and plan check lists, whereas the caregivers use the apps to track their time sheets, record shift notes, and communicate with the family or other caregivers to coordinate their work. “Caregivers are aware of the important role they play in recording the well-being of their clients,” said CEO and co-founder of Kindly Care, Igor Lebovic. “It’s inspiring to see the level of detail they capture in their notes that are then shared with the family members and the rest of the care team.”
“What drew me to Kindly Care is that it helps both sides of the marketplace benefit financially; families pay less and caregivers earn more. This higher earning potential for caregivers translates to better quality of care for families, creating a perfect loop of incentive and reward” said Josh Breinlinger, partner at Jackson Square Ventures.
Kindly Care’s main competitors are online marketplaces like Care.com, Carelinx, and to some extent also Craigslist. What differentiates Kindly Care from those services is its comprehensive care management platform, which is comparable to ClearCare’s and HomeHero’s products that are targeting agencies and hospitals, respectively. The combination of Kindly Care’s marketplace of vetted caregivers and its care management platform allows private employers to experience the combination of the convenience, safety and compliance that’s usually only possible when working with an agency.
Ann Miura-Ko, partner at Floodgate, noted: “With millions of aging Americans and geographically distributed families, one of the critical questions over the next 5-10 years will be how we care for our parents and aging loved ones on a long term basis leveraging the technology we have at our fingertips. We were excited by Kindly Care because it offers the very best solution for families who want to hire, communicate with and support the caregivers who care for the seniors in their lives.”
Founders Igor Lebovic and Erik Fantasia previously developed the free diet and nutrition service Calorie Count, which has helped over 10 million people lose weight. “There are many similarities between Calorie Count and Kindly Care,” said Erik Fantasia, CTO and co-founder. “When we launched Calorie Count, everyone thought we should be telling people what to eat, but instead we empowered our users to make their own decisions, and that’s how most weight loss services work today. We now see a similar trend towards consumer-empowerment in elder care as well.”