The mental health startup Rippl, which is specifically geared toward seniors, has raised $32 million.
Led by co-founder and CEO Kris Engskov, the company has a home-based focus. It wants to fix what it calls a “broken” mental health model for seniors, and will target patients with dementia and other neurocognitive conditions.
“I think we know overwhelmingly now know that seniors want to stay at home and age at home,” Engskov told Home Health Care News. “The other thing we know – and there’s plenty of evidence to support this – is that when you’re in your home, your outcomes are far better. So we need to try to keep people at home longer.”
Engskov was formerly the president of both Starbucks Corporation U.S. (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Aegis Living, an assisted living and memory care provider.
The funding round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and General Catalyst, with GV, F-Prime Capital and Mass General Brigham Ventures also contributing.
General Catalyst’s portfolio includes Cityblock Health – a complex care provider – and the on-demand mobile health startup Sprinter Health.
“Behavioral health for seniors is unique and specialized,” Engskov said. “There’s a very specialized and complex set of skills required to deliver these services. One of the big issues is that there are just not enough of these folks that have the license and the skillset to deliver this kind of care. We’re going to build a culture and have a platform that is [fit for that].”
Home-based care providers often deal with patients that are dealing with dementia or other neurocognitive issues. The dementia care expert Teepa Snow recently broke down some of the greatest challenges agencies face with these types of patients, and why they do face those challenges in the first place.
Thus, the Seattle-based Rippl seems like a natural partner for home care agencies, and Engskov said the company would be a “great partner” for home health and hospice agencies as well.
“We have to bring a lot of other people from other disciplines into this space,” Engskov said. “We want to build an army of specialists in the space that have the right support to go out and keep people at home.”
The company will use the funding to hire and train clinicians, build technology and open Washington-based clinical support centers, according to the release.
It starts with pioneering a new care model that could be offered by health plans. That model would leverage easy-to-use technology, with an emphasis on making the experience “work better for seniors, their families and caregivers.”
The company is also tapping into clinical teaching institutions to build a “Rippl Academy” that is focused on upskilling clinicians to become experts in the senior mental health space.
“One of the most obvious yet unaddressed areas of health care is how we treat seniors with cognitive impairments in their homes,” Robert Nelsen, Rippl co-founder and board chair and managing director of ARCH Venture Partners, said in the press release. “We saw an opportunity to make a huge impact. We’ve pulled together a diverse team of people who come from a range of backgrounds. What connects them is they are all caregivers.”
Hospice News Editor Jim Parker contributed to this report.