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Caralela startup that provides digital tools to support caregivers, raised $8.2 million in Series A funding last week. The company got its name by combining “care” and “parallel” because its goal is to “walk alongside caregivers as they navigate the twists and turns of the caregiving journey,” said CEO Shara Cohen.

The Chicago-based startup was founded in 2017 with a mission to make the country’s more than 50 million caregivers feel more prepared and confident in their efforts. The average caregiver spends 24 hours a week caring for their loved one, with many providing more than 40 hours of care a week without compensation or support, Cohen said.

“Relying on caregiver health care does not come without a cost,” she explained. “Caregivers experience higher rates of serious illness, high levels of financial strain and instability, and significant adverse psychological symptoms. This creates significant risk for health plans as both the insurer of the caregiver and the recipient of the care.

To address this issue, Carallel’s platform gives caregivers access to “care advocates.” These advocates lend an empathetic ear to caregivers and understand their challenges, as well as offer support and coach them through personalized action plans. Carallel’s platform also provides online resources and educational training, Cohen said.

Carallel services are offered as a benefit by health plans and employers. Services are offered to any member/employee caring for a loved one or any caregiver caring for a member/employee, Cohen explained.

More than 400,000 members insured by Medicare Advantage and commercial plans currently use Carallel. With its new influx of funds, the startup plans to expand its reach to more payers as well as expand its platform to include more peer-to-peer support and targeted care interventions. As 2023 approaches, Carallel plans to launch new payer programs, including NextBlue of North Dakota, Priority health and Vermont Blue Advantage.

Although the investment market has tightened, Cohen said Caralel has seen impatience from investors during his efforts to raise Series A funds, which took eight months. The funding round was led by FCA Venture Partnerswith participation from 450 Ventures, Create Health Ventures, Gratitude Railroad, Loud Capital and Wanxiang Healthcare Investments.

“With large, established health plan clients and the experience we have nationally with Caregiver Action Network, we found a lot of enthusiasm from the investor community,” she stated. “My advice to others is to make sure fundraising doesn’t become too distracting and that you empower your teams to execute the basics of your game plan. This is a long process and investors will be watching for progress along the way.”

But Carallel is not the only platform for caregivers. For example, there is also Ianacare and eFamilyCare.

According to Cohen, her company differentiates itself from competitors through its focus on “providing expansive, broad-based support to caregivers, as well as implementing specific, targeted programs that address the unique challenges of specific moments of care that impact healthcare efficiency.” . She also said Carallel stands out because it provides “seamless access to compassionate experts.”

Photo: ipopba, Getty Images

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