Papa is in the spotlight once again, with its latest announcement being a $60 million Series C funding round led by Tiger Global Management. The Miami-based company has now raised roughly $91 million since launching in 2017, with other financial backers including Comcast Ventures and Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates.
Moving Forward, Papa will use the new $60 million — officially announced Tuesday — to continue scaling its platform while enhancing its suite of services focused on improving the health and wellness of its users, founder and CEO Andrew Parker told Home Health Care News. The company’s users include older adults at risk of social isolation, family members of seniors who sometimes need extra support in the home and more.
“We’re essentially moving toward value-based care,” Parker said. “So how can we, under the umbrella of companionship, support older adults and families in more ways? Funding will go, in part, toward achieving those goals.”
The Papa of 2021 already looks very different from the Papa of 2017.
Originally, Papa launched as a startup that connected older adults exclusively to service-oriented college students looking to give back to their communities. While Papa still employs college students today, its “Papa Pals” also include stay-at-home parents with extra time on their hands and informal caregivers looking for new caregiving opportunities.
Additionally, all of Papa’s in-home companions are vetted and graduate from “Papa Pal University,” Parker noted.
“What’s exciting for us, too, is that, early on, we didn’t have as much demand to be able to support a full-time job,” he said. “And now, many of our Papa Pals have enough work — most of them — to be able to effectively support a full-time job. You can make like $45,000 being a Papa Pal.”
Yet Papa likewise looks very different due to the enhancements it has already made to its core offering.
Beyond sending companions into the home to ward off loneliness, Papa now arranges services such as care navigation, virtual primary care and chronic care management. Combined, its team of Papa Pals, care navigators and board certified physicians is able to support members in a proactive manner while providing an ROI to health plans and employers.
“It’s really just to curate an experience to improve the lives and health of older adults,” Parker said. “[Papa] will always be companionship at the core because 80% of what a person may need is going to be able to be handled by a Pal. But we bring in additional services as appropriate so members can go right back to living their best lives and hanging out with their amazing Papa Pal.”
Currently, Papa partners with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, managed Medicaid organizations and employers looking to offer its services as a benefit to employees. The company has partnered with more than 40 large health plans across the U.S.
Papa does not disclose how many people use its services on a daily or weekly basis, but over a million people in total have access to the platform, Parker said
“We want to continue to grow nationally,” he added. “We want to continue to expand into Medicaid and employer benefits. Ultimately, we are always keeping our eyes open to other countries. We actually have our first foray outside of the continental U.S. into Puerto Rico early next year.”
Papa experienced dramatic growth in 2021, growing 600% on a year-over-year basis, according to the company. The growth has come at a time when health plans are starting to realize how important it is to tackle social determinants of health in the home setting.
“Addressing loneliness and social isolation is a critical issue for older adults and their families, especially as more seniors choose to age at home,” Scott Shleifer, a partner Tiger Global, said in a statement. “Papa has developed a highly personal companionship model to solve this unmet need, delivering exceptional satisfaction ratings and health care outcomes. We are excited to back the clear category leader and believe they’re just scratching the surface of the opportunity that lies ahead.”
Papa’s Series C comes less than seven months after its $18 million Series B, led by Comcast’s investment arm.