When Seth Sternberg’s mum started getting older, he realised he didn’t know what he was going to do to take care of her.
“I could never trust my mother to the current state of the industry,” Sternberg told Business Insider.
“If I wanted to set up in-home care for my mum right now, I’d have to fly to Connecticut, interview twenty home-care providers, pick the one I thought was best, and then fly back to California, and I’d have no idea how my mum’s safe was going.”
After doing some research, he realised that the majority of seniors wanted to stay in their homes as they got older.
To help serve these seniors, Sternberg is launching a service called Honour, which aims to match ageing seniors with professionals who can take care of them in their homes, while giving concerned family members a way to keep track of what’s going on.
Here’s how it works.
The first part of Honour is an appliance with a screen called the Honour Frame, which sits in the senior’s home. It tells them things like: “Jeanette’s on her way, and she’ll be here in 10 minutes” or “How did Mary do today?”
When it doesn’t have a message to display, the screen can be programmed to show family photos.
Home-care professionals also get an app that helps them find and keep track of job offers.
But unlike on-demand services like Uber and Lyft that let people accept jobs right away, Honour wants its home-care professionals, who start at $US15 an hour, to foster long-lived relationships with seniors. Honour gives care professionals deep background checks and in-person interviews to screen them, and as of now, only 5% of Honour’s home-care professional applicants have been allowed onto the platform.
Also, today a lot of home-care professionals are sent into seniors’ homes blind. Honour fixes that by letting them know what to expect and pairing them up with seniors they can work well with. For example, if a senior speaks Mandarin Chinese, they can opt to match with a home-care professional who also speaks Mandarian Chinese.
To address fraud and abuse issues which occasionally surface with home-care issues for seniors, the Honour monitor shows what the home care professional does while they’re in the home.
Family members also get their own app, which they can use to see how long the professional stays in the senior’s home and what they do there.
Families can book Honour for as little as one hour a week or more, to their liking. There are no contracts with Honour.
Sternberg and his co-founders have raised $US15 million from Andreessen Horowitz and an additional $US5 million from angel investors including Google X’s Andy Conrad, Yelp’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.
Starting this month, Honour will serve seniors and their families in Contra Costa County, California, and will spread its services throughout the Bay Area. Sternberg says he plans to expand Honour beyond Silicon Valley, too.