Entrepreneur of the Week: Michael Walsh, Cariloop
Cariloop’s Caregiver Support Platform provides online care management tools and healthcare coaches to assist working caregivers. The company re-positioned itself as an employee benefit in 2015. We spoke to Michael Walsh, co-founder and CEO, about Cariloop and the opportunity they see in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Cariloop, the company, do?
Michael Walsh: Our team at Cariloop provides the world’s first fully-integrated, tech-enabled Caregiver Support Platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of their parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, in-laws, and adult children.
LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works?
MW: Our Caregiver Support Platform features a HIPAA-compliant, web and mobile-friendly portal that helps families securely communicate across all devices and store important health, financial, and legal documents while having on-demand access to a dedicated, licensed/certified Healthcare Professional (we call them Healthcare Coaches) who guides the families through the many decisions they make over the length of their caregiving journey.
LN: What opportunity did you want to address with the development of your technology?
MW: Our team at Cariloop has a saying and a promise to our members – “No one should EVER go through the process of caring for a loved one alone.”
We see it happen every day – some sort of health or medical event takes place and suddenly the entire family is scrambling to figure out what to do, how to do it, how much it costs, which options are best, on and on. Managing our own healthcare is hard enough, but when it comes time for us to play the role of caregiver for a loved one, it can be extremely confusing, chaotic, frustrating, and stressful.
Our team set out several years ago to create a different kind of experience where caregivers have the tools and support they need to plan for and manage this process as a family unit. It’s been incredible to see the response we’ve gotten and all the positive feedback we’ve received each week as we’ve worked to deliver on that promise.
LN: Who are your primary users? In what ways can your products benefit the 50+ population?
MW: Our Caregiver Support Platform can be helpful to families dealing with any type of healthcare issue they’re facing with loved one. The folks in the 50+ category are in a more elevated risk category for these issues because most often times they have both young adult children, siblings, as well as aging parents or in-laws. Rather than Googling their way through their loved one’s challenges, we’d love to showcase how our platform can save them a significant amount of time, money, and stress along their journey.
LN: How did you assemble your team?
MW: I really can’t say enough about how incredible team Cariloop is and the amazing work they do for families!
Something that’s important to point out about us is that we have designed our entire organizational structure around our core values of service, empathy, innovation, and integrity. In bringing this group together, we’ve placed a strong emphasis on making sure their personal core values match up well with Cariloop’s. Additionally, just about every one of us has been in a caregiving role within our own families before. This has been huge because the group brings an immense amount of passion and consideration for getting this problem solved the right way.
LN: How has Cariloop, the company, differed from what you envisioned it would be (if at all)?
MW: We’ve come such a long way from what the original idea for Cariloop was, but that’s a totally normal occurrence when building an early stage venture and evaluating product/market fit. We got our start working in the post-acute space connecting caregivers with the right care/service providers. When we saw that the issues these caregivers faced were so much more complicated than just helping them select a provider for a loved one, we took the steps necessary to change our product, business model, and go-to-market strategy so that we could better address the pain our users were faced with. The mission never really changed, but the delivery mechanism certainly did.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing your concept?
MW: When a team is taking a new idea like this to market, things take about triple the amount of time you think they will!
LN: What most excites you about the aging and / or health technology market?
MW: I think the space is finally starting to get the attention it needs and deserves. I can remember when my Co-Founder and I were getting Cariloop off the ground and there was minimal commentary in the media, the startup blogs, and the tech community around innovation for the digital health/aging market. Nowadays, you have groups like Aging 2.0, AARP, and the National Business Group on Health that have done an excellent job establishing themselves as thought leaders on trends for consumers, employers, and health plans. Funding activity from the angel investor and venture capital community is on the rise. Large financial services or insurance conglomerates are starting to make acquisitions in the space. All good signs – we’re just excited that we get to be part of the movement driving this conversation around innovation in the space.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the 50+ market?
MW: Be patient, be professional, and be persistent! As I mentioned before, things take time, but the juice is certainly worth the squeeze here because the work we do in this space can make a real difference in people’s lives. What we have learned these last few years is that companies want to work with other companies that have done their homework and deliver on the promises they make. So…work as hard as you can and never let yourself get discouraged when things don’t quite go your way!
LN: Do you have any other products in development?
MW: We certainly do! I am so excited for how our product roadmap is shaping up for 2018, but all I can say about it for now is to follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn for updates and announcements.
LN: Where do you see Cariloop five years from now?
MW: Leading the conversation on caregiver support and partnering with as many organizations as we can to move the needle on making sure the millions of caregivers out there no longer feel alone.
Michael Walsh is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cariloop, a Dallas-based Digital Health company that provides the world’s first fully-integrated, tech-enabled Caregiver Support Platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of their parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, in-laws, and adult children. Since graduating from the Health Wildcatters accelerator program in 2013, Cariloop has now raised over $1.9 million in funding, successfully deployed to 25+ employers and organizations, and assisted thousands of caregivers across the country with their loved ones.
Michael has been recognized by TexChange (One to watch), Dallas Business Journal (Who’s Who in Healthcare), D Healthcare Daily (Innovation in Medical Technology), Aging 2.0 (Global Startup Search), Techweek’s Tech 100, Tech.co (Startup of the Year Finalist), and Becker’s Hospital Review (Healthcare Entrepreneurs to Know). Michael is also the President of the Dallas Roundtable, the Founder of the Dallas chapter of Health 2.0, and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer. He is on LinkedIn and Twitter.