Roughly 55 million folks within the U.S. are 65 or older, which involves round 16% of the inhabitants. Between the 2000 and 2010 census, the 65+ age group elevated by 15.1% — notably better than the 9.7% development charge attributed to the broader inhabitants.
As folks become older, key questions round residing preparations inevitably come up — ought to they transfer to a multi-residence retirement dwelling, or maybe transfer in with household? However a survey by the American Affiliation of Retired Individuals (AARP) signifies that 87% of adults aged 65+ would like to “age in place,” that’s, reside in their very own dwelling and neighborhood independently, no matter their age, revenue, or skills.
Towards this backdrop, Umbrella is getting down to assist householders of their later years join with others of their neighborhood by a membership-based market.
Based in 2017, the Brooklyn, New York-based firm in the present day introduced a $5 million seed spherical led by Thrive Capital, with participation from Alphabet’s city innovation offshoot Sidewalk Labs, Impressed Capital, Refactor Capital, Maveron, Collaborative Fund, Trailmix, Field Group, and a bunch of particular person traders.
A bit like a “TaskRabbit for seniors,” Umbrella invitations area people members to enroll and provide their companies — something from shifting bins to shoveling snow, altering mild bulbs, portray fences, raking leaves, or cleansing homes. These neighborhood members are what Umbrella confer with as “neighbors,” they usually don’t work without cost — jobs are usually charged at $20 per hour, although neighbors concede a $four reduce to Umbrella. Neighbors may also elect to obtain much less cash, with the distinction going towards discounted work for lower-income seniors within the neighborhood.
Members in search of assist pay $199 per 12 months to entry the Umbrella market.
Umbrella’s founding group members each left Sidewalk Labs to launch their new startup. CEO Lindsay Ullman was beforehand a principal at Sidewalk Labs and a accomplice at Alphabet’s funding arm GV. Firm president Sam Gerstenzang was additionally a principal at Sidewalk Labs, although he additionally beforehand invested for esteemed VC agency Andreessen Horowitz and directed product at Imgur.
“Our Members use Umbrella to keep up their independence and keep linked to their communities — whether or not which means some assist round the home or assembly others within the space,” mentioned Ullman. “We’re the best method for older adults to proceed to reside within the houses they love, slightly than the standard different of ‘senior residing.’”
The neighbor-focused app lets staff seek for open jobs, monitor jobs they’ve accepted, and edit their profile, whereas a neighborhood “neighbor leaderboard” throws a bit of competitors into the combination.
The members’ app permits people to e book a brand new job and seek for neighbors and professionals by job sort.
Umbrella interviews and vets the “neighbors,” together with checking their backgrounds and references. For extra advanced jobs, Umbrella gives entry to a pool of licensed professionals — from electricians to engineers — who cost what the corporate calls “a good value.”
There are different platforms designed to assist folks discover help or somebody to work odd jobs round the home. However Umbrella has been particularly set as much as promote and nurture a neighborhood spirit — having somebody who lives close by paint the fence or mow the garden has the potential to create social connections. In response to the corporate, greater than half of Umbrella’s neighbors are additionally current retirees themselves.
Umbrella matches right into a micro development of firms centered on rising and harnessing “the neighborhood,” with the likes of Neighborhood social community Nextdoor lately elevating $123 million at a $2.1 billion valuation and Amazon final 12 months launching its Neighbors app to assist communities report crimes.
Although seniors symbolize a doubtlessly big market, they’ve been largely ignored by tech traders — however that may very well be altering. Greater than 40% of seniors (65+) within the U.S. now personal a smartphone, in comparison with simply 13% in 2013. Furthermore, this demographic usually has important assets to spend on internet-based companies, which is what may make startups like Umbrella viable and — crucially — extra engaging to traders.
“Umbrella is constructing the main shopper model for older adults, an viewers that has the biggest spending energy within the nation and but paradoxically is usually ignored by firms constructing new merchandise,” mentioned Thrive Capital normal accomplice Jared Weinstein.
It’s price noting that Thrive Capital has beforehand invested in one other elderly-focused startup, referred to as Honor, which gives on-demand care to the aged of their houses. Final 12 months, Honor raised one other $50 million, taking its complete funding to $115 million.
Though Google’s sister firm Sidewalk Labs has hogged headlines for its formidable plans to show Toronto’s waterfront right into a mini good metropolis, the Alphabet subsidiary has made numerous direct investments in startups over the previous couple of years. These embody Sidewalk Labs graduate Cityblock Well being, which is getting down to assist low-income People — together with the aged — entry well being care.
“Umbrella represents the form of native inter-generational communities that we imagine in at Sidewalk Labs,” Sidewalk CEO and chair Dan Doctoroff informed VentureBeat. “By creating a brand new form of neighborhood infrastructure that helps ageing in place, we are able to create a brand new commonplace for residing purposefully as you age. When Lindsay and Sam informed me they had been leaving Sidewalk to pursue Umbrella, it was apparent that we needed to be part of it.”
Umbrella at present serves New Jersey and Lengthy Island, although with its contemporary money injection it plans to develop the service nationwide this 12 months. And though there aren’t any imminent plans for worldwide markets, Umbrella mentioned it has garnered curiosity from Canada, Australia, and the U.Okay.