A Texas-based senior care referral company that recently completed a business accelerator program after a soft launch in April is describing itself as a mix between Expedia, Yelp, and eHarmony.
Cariloop is a relative newcomer to senior care referral scene dominated by major players including A Place for Mom and SeniorLiving.net, but it’s gearing up for a January 2014 relaunch after spending the last few months testing the beta version of its product in the market. In November, it completed a 12-week business accelerator program through Dallas-based Health Wildcatters along with 11 other healthcare start-ups.
“We call it Expedia or Yelp [for senior care] in the sense that we’ll be helping to guide that user as to the type of provider they need,” says Michael Walsh, cofounder of Cariloop, which is free for consumers.
That’s a key difference from many other referral sites that ask users what type of services they were looking for, with options ranging from home care to assisted living or skilled nursing. That’s how Cariloop’s beta version operates, but after going through the business accelerator program, Walsh says they found a lot of users didn’t know up front what care level they needed.
“They just had a situation where they knew they need to get help,” he says. “It starts a chain of events that leads to a lot of dollars being wasted by senior living care providers on leads that aren’t qualified, and a lot of time wasted by caregivers, social workers, or seniors who are trying to connect with providers that aren’t a good match.”
The updated version of Cariloop will be designed to help guide users through the process by collecting information and directing them toward certain providers based on their responses. Senior care seekers will be able to supply information including their budget, how they plan on paying for the services, and what types of amenities they’re looking for.
The Yelp component comes into play because the company plans to collect reviews throughout the process. A lot of data and content gathering will happen along the way, Walsh says.
A third side of the matching process shares many components of online dating.
“There’s a lot of eHarmony in this [process] where providers are signing up with us, sharing content and information about who they are and what makes them special; supplying pricing, photos, and videos—a lot of the same stuff you’d be looking for if you’re trying to get match up to date,” says Walsh.
Cariloop will be operating in Texas for all of 2014. The site includes information for the entire state’s healthcare facilities in its database, which is updated every 30 days. After claiming their listing, providers can add availability, pricing, what type of care they offer, and other media content.
The updated system will require users who want to go through the process of being matched with a care provider to sign up and provide their personal information. Others can opt to use the advanced search function if they already know what they’re looking for, such as social workers, case managers, or families who are further along in the search process.
While the service is free for consumers, Cariloop plans to sell leads to providers once they’ve been qualified.
Providers can view all the information gathered during the assessment process before deciding whether or not they want to purchase it and get contact information from Cariloop. If they decline to buy the lead for whatever reason, it triggers a message to the user that then directs them to other providers who also are good matches.
The company is preparing to relaunch and Walsh says they’re ready.
“The accelerator program was a really valuable experience for us; it helped us answer a lot of questions about who we were as a company,” he says, adding that 2014 “should be pretty exciting.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace