USA -Rippl, a company focused on providing mental health solutions to seniors with dementia and other cognitive conditions, launched with a US$32 million seed round.

The seed round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and General Catalyst, with participation from GV, F-Prime Capital, and Mass General Brigham Ventures.

Rippl will provide 24/7 virtual access to clinicians and care will also have an in-person component. The care team will consist of nurse practitioners and other health professionals who will be Rippl employees, not contractors, according to a spokesperson.

The company will emphasize not only seniors, but also their families and caregivers, and aims to partner with value-based care payers like Medicare Advantage.

The company, led by Starbucks veteran Kris Engskov, said it will launch a care model offered by health plans that will provide 24/7 access to clinicians via the phone, online, or in seniors’ homes.

Hospices have been caring for dementia patients in larger numbers and can likely expect a more substantial influx in coming years.

The number of dementia patients is expected to rise by 40%, or 139 million people globally, by 2050, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the United States, roughly 13.8 million adults 65 and older will experience dementia by 2060, according to projections from the Alzheimer’s Association.

This is nearly double the estimate of 6.2 million patients currently diagnosed with that condition.

The company foresees opportunities to collaborate with other providers in the care continuum, including primary care physicians, home health, and hospice and palliative care organizations, according to CEO and Co-Founder Kris Engskov.

Rippl plans to use the seed funding to hire and train clinicians, build the technology, and open a Washington state-based clinical support center to launch pilot networks in two regions, starting in Seattle.

Market outlook

According to the Census Bureau, the senior population has grown significantly over the past 10 years, driven by the aging of the large Baby Boomer generation.

As society experiences the demographic shift, referred to as the “gray tsunami,” there will be an increasing need for caregivers and health clinics to meet the demands of the aging group.

Among the company’s goals is to reduce both the burden on patients and caregivers as well as the financial strain on the healthcare system.  

The Alzheimer’s Association projects the total cost of care for dementia patients to reach $321 billion in 2022, including US$206 billion in Medicare and Medicaid.

These patients experience high rates of hospitalizations, readmissions, emergency department visits, and nursing home admissions, the association reported.

Several companies are focused on creating solutions for the aging population. Homethrive, a platform that aims to support people who are caring for older relatives or loved ones with disabilities, recently raised US$20 million.

DUOS, which announced a US$15 million Series A in April, helps older adults set up rides, arrange for food deliveries, help find housing and manage medical care.

Another senior assistance startup, Papa, announced a US$150 million Series D round in November 2021.

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