When Seth Sternberg's mom began to enter old age, Sternberg realized 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, who lives across the country from his mother, told Business Insider.
"If I wanted to set up in-home care for my mom right now, I'd have to fly to Connecticut, interview 20 home-care providers, pick the one I thought was best, and then fly back to California, and I'd have no idea how my mom was going."
Some research led Sternberg to realize that most seniors wanted to stay in their homes.
To help serve these seniors, Sternberg is launching a service called Honor, which aims to match seniors with professionals who can take care of them in their homes while giving concerned family members a way to keep track of everything.
Here's how it works.
The first part of Honor is an appliance with a screen called the Honor Frame, which sits in the senior's home. It provides information 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, Honor wants its home-care professionals, who start at $15 an hour, to foster long-lasting relationships with seniors. Honor gives care professionals deep background checks and in-person interviews to screen them, and so far only 5% of Honor'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. Honor 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 Mandarin.
To address fraud and abuse issues, which occasionally surface with home care for seniors, the Honor monitor shows what the home-care professional does while in the home.
Family members also get an app, which they can use to see how long the professional stays in the senior's home and what that person does there.
Families can book Honor for as little as one hour a week, to their liking. There are no contracts.
Sternberg and his cofounders have raised $15 million from Andreessen Horowitz and an additional $5 million from angel investors including Google X's Andy Conrad, Yelp's cofounder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, and PayPal cofounder Max Levchin.
Starting this month, Honor will serve seniors and their families in Contra Costa County, California. It will then spread its services throughout the Bay Area. Sternberg says he plans to expand Honor beyond Silicon Valley, too.
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