High-Profile Startup Honor Expands to New Market

Honor, the home care startup that raised $20 million earlier this year, is branching out from its Bay Area hub to begin offering services in Los Angeles as of today.

As part of the L.A. rollout, Honor is making $100,000 available for free home care in the Southern California metropolis. It’s part of a pledge to donate $1 million in free care across 10 cities, which Honor co-founder Seth Sternberg made in conjunction with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.

The Honor concept is to bring a more on-demand aspect to private duty home care by providing an app that connects clients with caregivers. It also streamlines payment and increases transparency through the sharing of real-time information.

The startup began with a pilot phase in Contra Costa County, then began serving the whole Bay Area in July. The company will follow the same model in Southern California, Sternberg told Home Health Care News. However, the company has noticed some of the particular characteristics of the Los Angeles market—including one that might not be intuitive. So far, Angelenos have taken to the Honor app and website more quickly than users in San Francisco, despite the Bay Area being a global tech hub.

In the City by the Bay, more users were apt to use Honor’s 800-number as their way into becoming a client, Sternberg said.

Even from the time of its initial launch, Honor’s leaders have not been shy about their intentions of moving into new metros—and not necessarily in California.

“I want this to work as well in Des Moines as in San Francisco,” Sternberg told Home Health Care News at the time.

But, for the moment, Honor is sticking to the Golden State as it expands, noting that residents over age 65 will comprise 36% of the greater L.A. community by 2030.

Another aspect of Honor that the company is touting at this stage of the game is its use by people who are on trips. In announcing the L.A. launch, the company released a customer testimonial from Harold Cohn, a retired family law attorney who discovered Honor while visiting the Bay Area. He received an assessment in his hotel and was matched with a caregiver during his stay.

Cohn suggested that hotels and travel agencies recommend Honor to travelers like himself. There certainly is demand among travelers for caregivers at their destinations, Sternberg told HHCN; however, Honor is not targeting its marketing in a more vigorous way than usual to hotels or other hospitality providers at this point.

Overall, while the ambitions to grow Honor remain the same, Sternberg says he is focused right now on the immediate challenge of entering a new market.

​”As a new company it’s so important to stay focused,” he said. “Now, we need to learn how to operate across two geographies.”

Survey Says

Honor and similar startups such as HomeHero tout the value of technology in bringing more efficiency to the home care industry and facilitating the flow of information among caregivers, clients and their family members. Consumers do feel a need for more information about their loved one’s status, even though they generally feel that in-home caregivers are accountable and communicative, according to findings from a survey that Honor commissioned in October and November.

Among respondents who themselves provide care for family members or utilize a professional caregiver, fully 50% said the care pro is or was very accountable and communicative. But nearly 38% said that although caregiver performance was reasonable, they wanted more information.

These family members do appreciate the value of technology in monitoring home care providers, but they still think that periodic drop-ins are the best method, according to the findings.

About 26% said an in-home technology app to report caregiver feedback and updates would be the biggest help in monitoring in-home caregivers. Nearly 30% said an in-home camera would help even more, and 44% said period drop-ins would be best.

When asked if a monitoring app would be “highly beneficial,” 78% said yes and 22% said no.

Other survey results touched on quality of caregivers:

  • 47% said they have experienced no negative encounters with professional home caregivers
  • 31.5% said they’ve had caregivers that performed duties poorly, improperly or neglectfully
And questions also focused on what causes the most stress for family caregivers:
  • 40.7% said balancing life commitments and caring for an aging loved is the biggest personal stressor
  • 30.2% said physical/emotional side effects of caregiving is the No. 1 stressor
  • 9.3% said financial strain is the biggest stressor
About 400 people nationwide took part in the survey.
Written by Tim Mullaney