Entrepreneur of the Week: Todd Florin, Room2Care
Room2Care is an online platform designed to provide seniors with an alternative to assisted living facilities and paid non-medical caregivers. The platform connects seniors in need of care with caregivers who have extra space in their homes or with young people who agree to live in a senior’s home for free in exchange for basic household chores.
We spoke to cofounder and CEO Todd Florin about Room2Care and the opportunity they see in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Room2Care, the company, do?
Todd Florin: Room2Care is a platform to provides affordable living assistance to seniors by connecting seniors with approved caregivers. It may be best to think of us as the AARP does “AirBNB for Senior Care.”
LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works?
TF: We have two shared living products. Our first is an ALF substitute. Instead of a senior going to an assisted living facility, the senior is matched with a caregiver that has a spare room in their home. The assistance needs are matched the those required. It costs less than half of what the mean ALF price is in a given community. Our RoomAide service places a young, non-medical person, in a senior’s home where he/she lives rent free and provides for support and some basic chores.
LN: What opportunity did you want to address with the development of your technology?
TF: Seniors need affordable assistance. By leveraging the power of the sharing economy, we can provide accountable, affordable senior assistance.
LN: Who are your primary users? In what ways can your products benefit the 50+ population?
TF: Our users tend to be adult children of seniors. I would like for us to have a better conversation with seniors. I tend to find that the big limitation that we face is that the problems aren’t addressed until crisis strikes.
LN: How did you assemble your team?
TF: I had this idea that I thought was great, so I contacted Richard Ashenoff, a friend of mine from business school whose background was in assisted living and home care. I was certain he would convince me that I was nuts. Instead he said, “I want to do this with you.”
LN: How has Room2Care, the company differed from what you envisioned it would be (if at all)?
TF: Room2Care is similar to what we envisioned. We thought the hard part would be finding caregivers and the easy part would be finding seniors in need. The opposite has proven true.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing your concept?
TF: I wish I knew how many stakeholders there are with each senior. Senior care is a more complex purchase than I imagined.
LN: What most excites you about the aging and / or health technology market?
TF: This is essential. Whenever I get frustrated I just do the math. We can’t cut medicaid, cut medicare and deal with the senior tsunami and still pay big money for nursing home beds. We need to innovate.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the 50+ market?
TF: Focus more on solutions than on apps and devices. Look for real problems to solve.
LN: Do you have any other products in development?
TF: We are working to make the process as safe and secure as possible. We are introducing “RepBuilder” a method to gather and compile many recommendations from your network.
LN: Where do you see Room2Care five years from now?
TF: I would like to see our solution listed clearly as an alternative to ALFs and nursing homes. I would like to see facilities look for our host homes as transition sites. I would like to find ways to integrate with home-care agencies to be able to provide necessary medical support, at a significantly lower price-point.
LN: Anything else you’d like to share?
TF: I’m a physician and I spend a lot of time with other physicians. What a depressing bunch! I so much prefer being with other tech entrepreneurs who see the future and their ability to change it. If I could tap into the energy of all these incredible people, we would never have a conversation about off shore drilling.
Dr. Todd Florin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. He attended New York university school of medicine and did his medical training at University of Michigan. He is been a practicing cardiac electrophysiologist and has served as Director of Electrophysiology at the Miami Heart Institute, Mt. Sinai Medical Center and the Director Heart Rhythm Services for HCA. He has been on the faculty of the University of Miami where he also received his MBA. He served as medical advisor for Governor Martin O’Malley and helped draft his health plan for his presidential campaign. Dr. Florin was the CMO for Palm Beach Medical School which was to be the first for profit medical school in the US. He is the founder and CEO of Room2Care.