Wednesday night, 10 women and minority-led startups competed for $10,000 of equity-free cash at Startup Runway, a non-profit-driven competition that is the largest-prize pitch competition of its kind. The winner was a health tech platform that focuses on a large, untapped industry — the aging population.
Reciprocare, founded by a Harvard-trained physician with over 15 years in the public health space, connects trained caregivers with industry jobs at home care agencies and assisted living facilities. The pitch was delivered by Chief Growth Officer Rachel Fuller, an entrepreneur who formerly founded another tech startup in the aging space.
CEO Dr. Charlene Brown and her team noticed the dual-sided challenge in the caregiving market — 70 percent of care provider agencies can’t find enough caregivers to fill their open jobs, yet two-thirds of qualified caregivers say they can’t find full-time work. Reciprocare connects the dots to help the 117 million people in the U.S. who rely on caregivers.
“We solve the problem differently by putting our customers second,” said Fuller during her pitch. “We put the caregivers — the ones who need jobs — first.” The platform is free for job-seekers to use and Fuller says will remain so; it’s also extremely intuitive, as this population tends to be less digitally-literate.
It works like a university common app — the caregiver fills out a detailed profile with their skills, availability, background and experience. They then look through jobs and apply with one click to those of interest. The agencies searching for talent can look through these applications, find those that best fit their needs and reach out to employ them.
The startup makes money by charging the agencies and facilities on a subscription-based model; they are currently live in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia and Florida.
Earlier this year, they received a $50,000 investment from Atlanta-based Points of Light Civic Accelerator, the first accelerator and fund in the U.S. focused on civic ventures.
Fuller says the $10,000 prize money from Startup Runway will go directly towards expanding into Tennessee, her home state. The money will allow them to onboard an estimated 20 customers and 600 caregivers.
But they have a much bigger vision — the startup plans to sign up 75 care providers in 2018. With a total addressable market of $1 billion, there is room to scale.