As parents get older, the immediate family must start making decisions about their future care and housing. Often, the first instinct might be to jump to Google for more information but, like many health-related internet searches, the results can be non-specific, confusing, or just flat-out wrong.
“As someone with a digital product background from a previous startup, I found that to be an incredibly frustrating experience — the notion that you first have to become an expert at all online research before you can become an informed decision-maker [about your parents’ care] seemed ridiculous,” says Roobrik CEO Nate O’Keefe.
His co-founder, Judy Conaway, experienced this frustrating, emotionally-fraught situation firsthand as the family caregiver for her mother for nearly 20 years. It helped her realize “how difficult it is to become informed online when you’re in one of these care crisis.”
With Roobrik, family caregivers can get access to personalized answers about the health and long-term care of their loved one and move forward with the right decision. The online assessment tool, a 4-minute questionnaire of about 15-25 questions, goes beyond a diagnosis by using algorithms to provide a clinically-informed analysis of the situation: level of care needed, timeline, best environment, and how to get the conversation started with all related parties.
“We wanted to give people some actionable items to take them beyond what you typically get from most consumer health information sites, with our core audience being 65-plus adults and their prospective or current caregivers,” says O’Keefe.
“Geriatricians categorize this phase of life is as balancing safety and independence. If you make the wrong decision too soon, you could be robbing somebody of independence. And if you make it too late, then safety issues can arise.” The assessment outlines risk levels from low to moderate, elevated and severe.
While the tool is available for free to the public, Roobrik has a B2B revenue model by partnering with more than 200 senior care facilities and senior living communities nationwide. A co-branded SaaS product is licensed to those facilities so they can share it with prospective families, to help them make their decision and the facility to capture leads.
One customer shared that in just three months, they helped “more than 250 families privately consider the options that are best for them.”
“We knew that there were a lot of companies out there trying to engage this audience that were struggling, because people tend to get stuck in a decision process,” says O’Keefe.
Roobrik also provides a series of resources and tools to help everyone in the family get on the same page, especially when only a few family members have seen the symptoms or signs of deteriorating health. One of the assessments is a first-person narrative report that outlines factors that are difficult to talk about, like financial concerns, immediate changes needed, gut check questions and priorities for the loved one.
The Durham, North Carolina-based startup has seen more than 100,000 people spend over 16,000 hours on their platform, according to O’Keefe. He shares that they were able to see that major growth because they took the time to focus and get really good at one niche.
“Despite being told that, it took me three-plus years to really take that to heart, and since we’ve done that it’s been a benefit to both the team and helping us prioritize where we spend our time and energy,” says O’Keefe. “A lot of founders have platforms that are multifaceted and work in different markets and that makes you want to sell it to everybody who may want to buy it. Focus on one market or one kind of a segment instead.”
To further fuel their momentum, Roobrik closed a $1.4 million seed round this month to expand its marketing and sales team.
“The product itself has been a very well validated from an engagement standpoint over the last year and a half. Our existing customers are seeing terrific numbers, engaging new people in different ways, getting a lot of interesting data themselves,” says O’Keefe.
“This round is really focused on accelerating the growth. We’re bringing in our first full-time sales team. We’ve invested very little in marketing over the last several years so a lot of it will be about getting out and just telling the great story.”