Exclusive: Tech-Enabled Hospice Startup Guaranteed $7 Million Debut

Exclusive: Tech-Enabled Hospice Startup Guaranteed $7 Million Debut

After being blindsided by the laborious death of her father, marketing manager Jessica McGlory started Guaranteed, a company that aims to give families a better way to care for loved ones in their final days.

Why is this important: A recent report by the watchdog group Private Equity Stakeholder Project suggested that for-profit hospice agencies were linked to lower standards of care, fewer patient visits, higher hospitalization rates and higher compensation. workers weaker than their nonprofit counterparts.

  • “Private equity has made [hospice] almost his playground,” McGlory told Axios. His startup envisions superior, tech-enabled palliative care from the comfort of home.

Driving the news: New York-based Guaranteed raised $6.5m in seed funding led by BrandProject with participation from Precursor, Springbank, Lakehouse and Cake Ventures, bringing total funds raised to just over $9m .

  • The round marks one of the biggest starting rounds for a black solo female founder.
  • Prior to 2021, only 93 black female founders had raised $1 million or more in venture capital, according to ProjectDiane, a biennial report on the state of black and Latina female founders by Digitalundivided.
  • Guaranteed will use the funds to hire palliative and clinical care professionals, engineers and marketers.

By the numbers: Palliative care represents an estimated $34.5 billion market that is expected to grow to $64.7 billion by 2030, according to Grand View Research.

  • Private equity has poured funds into hospices recently, with 30% to 50% of all home health and palliative care deals in 2021 involving private equity firms, according to the mergers and acquisitions consultancy The Braff Group.
  • That figure is on the rise, according to a 2021 analysis that found the number of hospice agencies owned by PE groups rose from 106 (of 3,162) in 2011 to 409 (of 5,615). About three quarters of the hospices acquired by PE were not-for-profit organizations.

The plot: Sponsors have come under fire in recent years from lawmakers and regulators, including President Biden, who in his State of the Union address called out private equity investors for their role in boosting costs and reduced quality in nursing homes.

  • Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office is investigating nursing home ownership, with a report due out in the fall.

How it works: Garanti is Medicare certified and has a Medicaid license in California, where it is launched.

  • The company employs care teams including palliative home health aides, nurses, dietitians, social workers and chaplains that patients can access 24/7 via messaging and video calls.

What they say : Andrew Black, a secured investor and managing partner of BrandProject, tells Axios that the tech-driven palliative care sector presents a window of opportunity for startups.

  • “It’s an institutional category where a brand hasn’t really existed, and there’s room for one,” Black says.

Rollback: The idea for Guaranteed came to McGlory while caring for her father in hospice in 2019.

  • Perplexed by the source of her father’s severe pain and unable to get a nurse’s attention, she video called a certified nurse assistant friend who was able to help her.
  • “Without it, we would have been unlucky and he would have continued to scream in pain,” McGlory said.

A funny thing: After being immersed in a business landscape largely dominated by white men, McGlory set ambitious equity goals for her startup’s capitalization table: More than 40% of Guaranteed’s funding was to come from underfunded investors. represented.

  • “Throughout my career, I had to be one of the only black women in any room,” McGlory said. “I couldn’t let that happen in a business that I’m building.”
  • The end result: Half of Guaranteed’s capital came from an investment firm led by a woman and/or a person of color or an angel investor.

Take-out: McGlory envisions Guaranteed as providing people with the means to die in a dignified and respectful way – something his father didn’t get a chance to do.

  • “The one thing that’s guaranteed for all of us is that one day we’ll die,” McGlory says, “but what’s not guaranteed is that when you die it will be comfortable, painless, and filled with dignity. We wanted to create that.”

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