Richardson-based health technology startup Cariloop has secured $400,000 in seed funding and added the high-profile former president of Texas Health Resources Physicians Group to its board of directors.
Cariloop is a personalized, digital platform that connects senior care providers with patients who need help maneuvering the oft-complex world of long-term care. It was one of 12 startups to go through the inaugural Health Wildcatters Accelerator program, which wrapped last November.
Hubert Zajicek, the executive director and co-founder of the accelerator, compared Cariloop’s potential impact on shopping for senior care facilities to the way Expedia redefined how consumers purchase plane tickets.
“It’s based on your input, if you’re looking for something for your mom or your dad, they cut through all of that to give you some sensible choices for your region,” he said. “It’s built up through the patient’s perspective. It’s something people didn’t have access to.”
Cariloop CEO Michael Walsh said the money came from Dallas-based Green Park & Golf Ventures and Corbett Capital in Fort Worth. Real estate investors Silverado Interests and The LaSalle Group, which specializes in independent living facilities for seniors, also pitched in.
The money will go toward hiring between four and six new sales and marketing representatives. There are currently about 10 people—three full time, the rest contractors—on staff.
As of this moment, Cariloop is focused on markets in North and West Texas. Ideally, the service will eventually be available in all of the state’s major cities beginning with Houston. Walsh said he’s already training a sales rep to head south to market the product.
“We have to develop relationships with the providers and develop relationships with the users,” he said. “The sales people we’re hiring are focused on one side while the marketing is focused on the other.”
To find consumers seeking long-term care options, Walsh said he’s connecting with chambers of commerce, churches, hospitals, and community groups to market the platform. He said 250 providers signed up in the first 90 days and hopes to secure between 1,000 and 1,500 within a year of the service’s launch.
“We’ve built this big beautiful store and we’ve spent the last couple months filling that store with a lot of awesome goods that people can come in and buy,” Walsh said. “Without goods, you can’t get people in the store. Nobody cares.”
Dr. Michael Stoltz, who oversaw more than 800 doctors across North Texas as president of Texas Health Resources Physician Group, was part of the investor group that pitched into the Health Wildcatters program. He was a mentor to Cariloop throughout the process and decided to join the board to help develop strategy and manage the expansion, Walsh said.
“That is a huge, huge addition for us,” he added. “To have somebody of his reputation, of his experience, who is extremely passionate about helping seniors and families … say, ‘I’d love to be a part of that project’; what an honor.”
Health Wildcatters, housed in the Tech Church in Uptown, gives $35,000 seed money to a dozen startups and puts them through a 90-day program to help learn how to get the company off the ground. In return, the startups offer 8 percent equity.
Out of the inaugural graduating class, Cariloop is the only one so far that has announced its six-figure, outside seed funding.
“It’s a seed,” Zajicek said of the money. “It means market validation of what he’s after. People believe in him and are putting real money into it.”