What we’ve learned from partnering with local home care agencies.
Wait. What? Aren’t you my competitor? You want to talk about a partnership?
There’s a saying, "All healthcare is local." As it turns out, "all home care is local," is just as true, if not more.
This is one of the many things we’ve learned since launching Honor in 2015—and by far the most important. It’s also the driving force behind our decision to launch and invest in the Honor Care Network, the first-of-its-kind national network of home care agencies.
As part of our commitment to that investment, I’m very excited to announce that we just closed a Series C round of funding for $50 million, led by Naspers Ventures.
How did we get here?
Like many agency founders, we had little direct experience in home care at the start. We had strong technology backgrounds and a desire to use that unique ability to create more visibility, trust, and efficiency in the care experience and improve the lives of more people like our parents and grandparents. We never thought anyone would stand in front of their house and press a button to request a caregiver. But we were sure we could improve on the existing home care operations model and, as a result, help many more families needing care.
Using our expertise in tech and operations, in 2017 Honor became the largest home care agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’d also started expanding to other cities in new regions. First Los Angeles. Then Dallas. And then, Albuquerque.
As Honor expanded into other cities, I learned a truly critical lesson.
The locally-owned agency providers in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque understood their communities better than we ever could. Not just cultural nuances, they knew the health and social support systems for older folks, who families turned to when looking for a caregiver, and the key institutions within the community who helped their patients and clients find quality home care. And they had spent years building real relationships and real trust, which is what this business is about.
I also quickly discovered just how stressful the lives of agency owners had become. Nights and weekends were often interrupted, and holiday plans lost—all in the service of delivering care to those in need. And when I asked what kept them from growing their businesses further—to care for an ever-increasing number of people needing care, the answer was either that it was too hard to find quality caregivers or that they had all the customers they could possibly handle given the myriad of late-night issues they were already experiencing.
So I was standing in line at Hard Eight BBQ in Dallas when it clicked. I’d just spent the day with five different agency owners, listening to the ups and downs of their agencies, what was working, what wasn’t. Each one was exceptional at doing what I knew Honor wasn’t. They ran local, home-grown businesses—all deeply embedded and respected in their community—and it resulted in a deep kind of personalization that technology alone could never replicate.
And I realized, Honor had gotten really good at solving the exact problems local agency owners were struggling with. We could easily backfill a last-minute call-off with a high-quality, situation-qualified Care Pro who would be fully briefed upon arrival. We could fulfill a customer request late on a Friday night for a Saturday morning appointment. And we could keep tabs on service quality on a minute-by-minute basis. We also could handle legal and compliance issues systematically and efficiently. Honor could certainly relieve their operations headaches—our pool of Care Pros is large and our operations capabilities are second to none. Why not marry the two?
As you can imagine, we got some pretty surprised responses to our early Care Network outreach.
Wait. What? Aren’t you my competitor? You want to talk about... a partnership?
So a huge shout-out to our first few Care Network Partners, all innovators who were willing to have that first conversation with us and then recognized we could be even better by working together. We’ve already learned so much from each of you. Thanks for sharing our vision for the future of this industry, having the guts to join us on this journey, and helping us to shape our partnership program.
Our fearless first partner, Scott Stanley, the owner of Caring Hands Caregivers based in Cupertino, California, saw the opportunity to innovate, drive change, and reach new clients with his agency’s highly personalized, white-glove care.
Meredith Caplin, who owns CSS Home Care in Oakland, California, was thrilled to pass her caregiver recruiting to Honor. Before partnering, that had been so time consuming, she couldn’t even think about growth. Several months later, her business is up nearly 40%.
Our first partners in Texas, Laurie and Mark Miller, the owners of Apple Care and Companion based in Dallas, recognized the value of being part of a national network that would create greater awareness and new growth opportunities for their highly respected agency.
Today, Honor has partnered with seven agencies across California, Texas, and New Mexico, building the foundation of our Care Network. And many more partners are on the way. Our Care Network Partners are amazing. With support from Honor for the day-to-day operations, they can focus on innovating, growing, and delivering outstanding high-touch care. To sum it all up? Our Partners are able to get back to doing what they love and are really good at—delivering incredible, deeply human care.
I’m extremely proud of what the Honor team has built and how it has evolved. At our headquarters, we have a fast-growing group of passionate employees who have dedicated themselves to providing exceptional care to older adults and relief to their families. We employ the absolute best caregivers in three states, investing in them as professionals. And now, in this newest Honor chapter, we’re able to support locally-owned businesses so they can grow and help more families get the care they need.
In today’s world, too much is seen as a zero-sum game. That we can help improve the quality of life for more older adults, their children, our Care Pros, and local agency owners inspires me every day to work harder and explore new ways to improve home care for everyone. I really hope you’ll join us.
Interested in learning more? Weʼd love to talk.
We’re looking for partners who believe there are better ways to support families who need care—and are excited to work with us to modernize our industry.