Papa, the company that provides in-home companionship services for older adults and their families, has reached unicorn status.
The Miami-based aging services startup announced a $150 million Series D round on Thursday, bringing its total funding to $240 million since its 2017 founding. Led by founder and CEO Andrew Parker, Papa now has a valuation of $1.4 billion.
“This latest round of funding, along with an ever-growing number of Papa clients, underscores the power of Papa’s approach and, even more so, the power of human connection,” Parker said in a press release.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the Series D round, with participation from TCG, Tiger Global Management, Canaan, Initialized Capital and Seven Seven Six, the VC firm founded by Alexis Ohanian in 2020.
Papa’s business model uses technology to match older adults and other members with vetted “Papa Pals” that offer companionship, technology assistance, meal preparation, light housework and similar services. The company’s footprint spans all 50 states, with its major payer sources including Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicaid and employer health plans.
While Papa had experienced solid growth prior to COVID-19, the pandemic heightened the health care system’s focus on addressing social determinants of health like loneliness and isolation.
That has translated to a more important role for Papa, which has added more than 25 health plans in the past seven months alone. Papa is available through 65 health plans overall.
“On average, every two minutes in the United States, a Papa Pal starts a companionship visit with a Papa member,” Parker said. “That figure will dramatically increase when an additional 26 health plans start on Jan. 1, and as more plans and employers add Papa over time.”
In October, Papa announced a new partnership with Uber Health aimed at better coordinating transportation services.
In September, it unveiled a partnership with Milliman’s HealthIO to create more touch points in the home for seniors.
Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit, led the seed round of Papa three years ago.
“Even three years ago, a lot of Silicon Valley VCs slept on this business,” Ohanian said in LinkedIn video. “And I’m telling you, this is just the start. There are over 11,000 boomers retiring every single day. We need technology to support [them].”
Lydia Jett, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers and Papa director, echoed those sentiments.
“Loneliness amongst older adults is one of the largest public health challenges and creates a crushing human and economic cost,” Jett said in the release. “Against a backdrop of health care provider shortages and an ever-growing understanding of social needs as health needs, Papa is using technology to create a new care force to provide companionship and support to those who need it most.”