Health IT Startup Cariloop Creates Community for Elder Caregivers

Dallas—It’s a fundamental lesson for entrepreneurs: Sometimes your expectations for your product and its market don’t work out.

“We had our sets of assumptions as far as what’s going to happen,” says Michael Walsh, founder and CEO of Cariloop, a Dallas startup whose software helps manage the care of seniors. “And then when you get out into the market, you realize that a lot of what you assumed, you missed something.”

Cariloop launched in 2014 with software that could connect users to a database of senior care providers—a list put together from those listed by state regulatory bodies—that includes adult care and long-term residential facilities. Users communicate their needs by completing a survey, then the software checks that information against the database and whittles down the options. The startup made money by charging the facilities a lead generation fee.

While the startup got a few hundred facilities to sign up and attracted some users, Walsh says a year ago, he and his fellow founders realized Cariloop was attempting to solve the wrong problem. “The problem is they have no idea where to start,” Walsh says. “When people are taking care of a parent or grandparent, it’s a lot more complex than even we realized.”

This summer, Cariloop switched gears. Instead of considering the facilities as the customer, Cariloop would focus on selling to the loved ones of elderly people. It wasn’t as simple as connecting users to a care facility, Walsh says—they needed help navigating an entirely new world. So, Cariloop changed its service, making the UX into a project management interface, something akin to Basecamp or Slack.

“This is for all our users to rally together in one place,” he … Next Page »

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