The news: Rippl, a Seattle startup focused on the mental health of seniors, launched Wednesday with $32 million in seed funding. The company is developing a care program focused on seniors with dementia and other neurocognitive conditions.
The model: 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 rollout: The company will launch pilot programs in Seattle later this year and will move into two or three other markets in 2023. Rippl will start with a focus on dementia but aims to provide broader mental health services.
The investors: The funding round was led by Arch Venture Partners and General Catalyst and also includes GV (formerly Google Ventures), F-Prime Capital and Mass General Brigham Ventures. Arch is a major backer of biotech companies, including Seattle’s Sana Biotechnology, but also invests in digital health companies; the firm helped pull Rippl’s team together.
“One of the most obvious yet unaddressed areas of health care is how we treat seniors with cognitive impairments in their homes,” said Arch managing director Robert Nelsen in a statement announcing the launch. “We saw an opportunity to make a huge impact.” Nelsen is a Rippl co-founder and its board chair.
The people: The other co-founders are CEO Kris Engskov, president of Bellevue, Wash.-based Aegis Living and former president of Starbucks Coffee U.S., and Inca Dieterich, an Arch Venture Partners associate who will serve as vice president of strategy and innovation.
Geriatric psychiatry specialist Aaron Greenstein is chief medical officer; RN Karrie Austin is VP of clinical operations; Jesse Schlueter, a former Nordstrom human resources executive, is chief people officer; and Jim Terry, former director of finance for Amazon Web Services, is VP of finance.
CEO quote: “Mental health care for seniors is broken,” said Engskov in a statement. “From access and convenience to quality and equity, Rippl is rethinking what’s required to keep seniors with these specialized conditions healthier and at home – and out of the ER and long-term care.”