Caribou grabs $3M to remove the ‘unexpected’ from healthcare cost planning

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The fact that there are approximately 4,000 Medicare Advantage plans to pick from not only makes selecting one a difficult choice but making the incorrect selection might harm one’s budget if anything unexpected happens.

To make that choice simpler, Miami-based company Caribou has packed its healthcare cost prediction and optimization software into a SaaS business model geared for financial planners, who can then advise their customers on the optimum plan.

This data-gathering company, led by co-founders Christine Simone and Cory Blumenfeld, and founding engineer Giorgio Delgado, collects information on utilization, health conditions, and medications then provide financial advisors with an easily scaled tool to evaluate a client’s healthcare planning needs.

Simone explained that financial advisors rarely inquire about their clients’ medication costs or health conditions; therefore, some of the pillars the company assists advisors and their clients in identifying include health plan selection and whether or not you may require long-term care planning — which Simone estimates 70 percent of people do regularly.

Simone and Blumenfeld founded caribou in 2020 after working in the healthcare industry, where they saw players failing to handle the financial component of treatment.

“Unfortunately, that burden is passed on to the customer,” Simone said. In today’s world, we hear reports of skyrocketing healthcare bills as well as a medical bankruptcy. That is why I am delighted to enable customers to proactively prepare for these costs and make better choices based on facts.

The firm secured $575,000 in early 2021 and today announced an additional $3 million in a seed round, bringing its overall investment to $3.1 million, bringing its total funding to date to $3.1 million.

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Jack and Max Altman headed it, joined by previous backers Garage Capital and N49P and a group of angel investors, including Plaid CTO Leslie Schrock and Tribe’s Arjun Sethi.

IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT, Caribou CEO Jack Altman said that the company is taking up healthcare planning where employers have left off.

According to him, “we’re seeing solutions in the employer arena that are aimed at reducing healthcare spending for workers, employers, and payers.” When employees leave such firms, or when their HR departments no longer have access to that data, what happens to that data? Considering Caribou’s standing via the lens of the financial system is an excellent chance to reach a new sector of consumers and provide them with something beneficial.”

The company’s software has only been on the market for a few months. Still, it has already signed up dozens of users, including BLB&B Advisors, CapSouth Wealth Management, and Jackson Square Capital, as well as other financial institutions.

Even though it is too early to provide growth data, Simone claims that growth, particularly during the open enrollment season in the fourth quarter, has been “hectic in terms of adoption” and that the business is now on the verge of placing companies on a waiting list for registration. The firm’s current customers represent tens of thousands of end clients. The company can already demonstrate that it has saved consumers hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare expenditures.

To deliver more powerful financial insights and reach a broader audience, the additional funds will be used to create new product features and expand product distribution. It also hopes to double its total staff number by the end of the year and expand its customer success team by 50 percent.

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Caribou is selling its software via the banking sector to concentrate on the end customer. However, its product roadmap includes a variety of distribution channels, including technological platforms that users might access directly from their computers.

“With just 39 percent of Americans working with a financial adviser, we need to be looking at alternatives outside of the financial advisor community,” Simone said. To reach a more significant number of users, we want to provide our product as a back-end plug-in that can be integrated into some of these other financial technology platforms.

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