“It was two years since my father died. And this may sound strange, but for the first time I thought about everything that happened leading up to his death – always before that I could only think about how he was gone. And when I started thinking about everything that led up to his death, I started to realize, wow, there were a lot of things that could have been a lot better.
These were the words spoken by Jessica McGlory in a recent interview. She serves as the CEO of Guaranteedprovider of hybrid home hospice services.
On Thursday, guaranteed closed $6.5 million seed round led by BrandProjectfeaturing Precursor Ventures, Springbank Ventures, Lakehouse Ventures and Cake Ventures. The round brings the startup’s total funding to date to $9.25 million.
A year ago, McGlory founded the startup so that patients and their families could have more dignified and holistic end-of-life care experiences than what she and her father went through.
Two weeks into McGlory’s father’s stay in the hospital after he suffered a double heart attack, doctors told them his heart capacity was rapidly declining and he needed hospice care.
“The only problem for me was that I had never heard of hospice — not a day in my life,” McGlory said.
As McGlory searched the Internet for a definition of hospice, hospital staff gave her six sheets of paper with individual hospice names and their phone numbers. She was told she better start calling those numbers to see who has an available seat.
It wasn’t easy to find a hospice provider who could provide home care for McGlory’s father, and there were periods of time where he was in a lot of pain and McGlory didn’t know what he could do.
“At the time, I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be that way,” McGlory said. “So with Guaranteed, I started researching and learning a lot more about hospice care so that I didn’t just have the perspective of a patient’s family member. I started learning about all the beautiful things that hospice is meant to do, and that’s when I knew I wanted to do something about it. I ended up quitting my job and decided to focus full-time on building a better, more holistic and technological hospice experience.”
Guaranteed provides direct patient care at home by employing teams of nurses, home hospice aides, chaplains, social workers and dieticians. The startup provides 24/7 access to palliative care nurses and through on-demand virtual visits. Patients can also schedule unlimited video visits with chaplains, social workers and nutritionists, according to McGlory.
The company is headquartered in New York, but currently only serves patients in Los Angeles. she said her team is working to expand its reach to new regions.
All patients Guaranteed serves are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. They are billed on the same per-patient-per-day model that exists for most hospice providers, McGlory explained.
“The difference is that we don’t charge anything extra for the capabilities of the platform,” she said. “Because we believe that in the long term, the technology-enabled platform will actually allow us to be able to serve more patients, have more staff and be able to be more efficient with our time so they can focus on the patient because unlike some of the other things that cause more administrative overhead.
This is how Guaranteed differentiates itself from other hospice providers such as
Relatives and I live, according to McGlory. She said the startup was focused on “using the same amount of money that other hospices have, but much more efficiently by using technology.”
With the influx of new funds, Guaranteed will scale its platform with an emphasis on adding new features to improve the patient experience. The startup will also ramp up hiring to expand beyond its five-person corporate team. It will hire new engineering and marketing professionals, as well as more hospice and clinical workers.
The company’s seed funding stands out because women-founded startups and black-founded startups often don’t raise as much capital. Last year, companies founded by women received only 2.4% of all capital invested in US venture-backed startups and black founders raised only 1.4% of all 2021 funding.
Guarantee flipped the script – half of the capital raised in the startup’s most recent round of funding came from a woman and/or person of color as a lead partner, investment intermediary, or angel investor. And 27% of the funds raised during the round were black investment dollars.
“It can be incredibly difficult to be a woman of color and grow up in that environment, but I’ve really focused on not spending too much time on those who have already proven that this is not something they’re really going to invest in— and I do not mean only capital. I mean really investing their time, expertise and belief in the vision. Instead, I focused on those who demonstrated that this is what they would be committed to,” McGlory said.
Photos: diego_cervo via Getty Images and Business Wire