Joshin, which matches caregivers to people with disabilities, raises $3M

Steven Loeb · August 31, 2021 · Short URL:

The company saw its community grow 200% as the pandemic made it harder to find care

Even before the pandemic, there was already a massive, looming caregiver shortage in the U.S., despite an aging population that was going to require care in their declining years. Thanks to COVID, that's become even worse over the past 18 months; that's due, in part, to the fact that these jobs are mostly held by women, many of whom are now leaving the workforce.

"When COVID started and the world essentially shut down, families were left without the care services they depended on for their loved ones, like school and daycares, for example," Melissa Danielsen, CEO and co-founder of Joshin, a company that matches those who require special needs and disability care with the right caregivers, told VatorNews.

"Without access to a network of pre-screened and experienced care providers who could provide in-home care, families were left to juggle full-time jobs and full-time care responsibilities. Because of this, three million women left the workforce."

Joshin solves the problem by using technology to create a solution that works for both patients and caregivers, making sure that patients get the necessary care, and that caregivers are able to find work that fits their needs. Founded in 2018, Danielsen co-founded Joshin with her twin sister, Melanie Fountaine; it was named in honor of their brother, who had developmental disabilities and who passed away in 2009.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it closed a $3 million seed funding round led by Anthemis Group and The Autism Impact Fund, bringing its total raised to $4.6 million.

Families that use Joshin simply have to download the app, create their Care Plan, build their profile and choose their subscription. Once they do, they will be matched with caregivers, with the ability to message them and book a Care Date. The company initially was used by families who were able to pay out of pocket but, in January of last year, it was approved to utilize Self-Directed Medicaid funding, meaning that families who get Self-Directed Medicaid funding are able to use that funding to pay for Joshin to source and manage caregivers.

Joshin’s community of members and caregivers grew 200% over the past 12 months, something which Danielsen attributes, at least in part, to the conditions created by COVID.

"The pandemic has really proven the essential need for quality care and throughout the pandemic, our care providers have supported members of all ages and needs through virtual hangouts, in-home care, groceries and errands, transportation and more. We flex to meet each family’s unique needs," she said.

In addition to allowing families to sign up individually, Joshin also partners with organizations to offer Joshin as a benefit to employees and members: employees simply sign up with their company email address and can immediately connect with care providers, post care jobs, send unlimited messages, interview and schedule care. If hands-on support is preferred, Joshin's Care Coordinators will help find care providers and build schedules for the company's employees. 

Part of the funding will go toward expanding that corporate benefits program since, right now, 30% of the employee population has a complex care need, and 42% of companies are looking to expand their care benefits, according to Danielsen.

"Corporate leaders have the opportunity to create a solution for employees who are struggling yet afraid to speak up. Bringing these conversations out of the shadows creates a culture that recognizes that every family’s care needs are different. Joshin is the answer to supporting these employees. When you build for the edge cases, you create value for every employee. Joshin is leveled up care," she said.

In addition, Joshin will be using the funding to expand to the West Coast, launching in markets like Los Angeles and Seattle. The company realized the unmet need in those markets after an article featuring Joshin went viral a few months ago, and the company received hundreds of emails from families telling the company about the struggles they have faced trying to find quality care for their loved ones.

To wit: in the last three months alone, Joshin had seen a 670.30% increase in website traffic from California, and a 1,121.67% increase from Washington.

While Joshin was designed for families with disabilities, the company's vision is larger than that; it's to help find care for anyone who needs it, includes families looking for leveled-up sitters or nannies.

"Currently, Joshin is building a network of disability resources, specialists, doctors, therapists, and schools. Families who care for loved ones spend 13 hours per month just to research services, information, physicians and financial matters. And they’re often given binders of papers from different therapists, doctors and providers," said Danielsen.

"We’re going to take all of this fragmented information and create a completely digital hub for disability resources and documentation on Joshin. Families and their team of providers will have access to everything they need to support their loved ones. The entire team that cares for an individual will work together through the Joshin platform to support and reach goals, all while decreasing the stress put on families while managing care."

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