Joshin closes $1.55M funding round to bring disability care to the masses; announces celebrity activist Michael Kutcher as advisor
Joshin, the Minneapolis-based tech startup that is bringing on-demand disability care to the masses via a mobile app, today announced a $1.55M funding round. The round was led by Anthemis, with participation from M25 and Sure Ventures. In addition to the funding, Joshin also announced that Celebrity Disability Care Activist Michael Kutcher (Ashton Kutcher’s twin brother) has joined the company as an advisor.
Joshin will use the new capital to continue expansion in new markets including Austin, Houston, and Dallas in the next year, as well as further develop its product and broaden its executive team. Most recently, Joshin welcomed Caitlin Winkworth to lead the company’s marketing efforts.
The funding announcement is the latest sign of momentum for Joshin, which has also recently seen its Medicaid customers triple, as families use the Joshin app to find and hire caregivers that are paid using Self-Directed Medicaid funding. Joshin is currently available in Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, with additional expansion planned for other U.S. markets.
Founded in 2018 by Melissa Danielsen (CEO) and Melanie Fountaine, Joshin is an online platform for families to connect with care providers (“Joymakers”). Joshin does not employ care providers and is not responsible for the conduct of any Joymaker or family/care recipient.
The company has recently expanded its Self-Directed Medicaid services to all of these markets. Families that qualify for Self-Directed Medicaid funding can now use Joshin to find, manage and hire caregivers directly; families pay a monthly fee to Joshin and can use their Self-Directed Medicaid to pay the caregivers that they connect with via the Joshin app. More details are available at the Joshin Self-Directed page of the company website.
“Caregiving is important now more than ever, and this strong statement of support for our mission from Anthemis and our other investors validates the work that we are doing,” said Melissa Danielsen, CEO of Joshin. “As America tries to reopen the economy and overcome the disruptions of the COVID-19 crisis, helping families with special needs find qualified, vetted caregivers is essential to helping parents get back to work and helping the economy recover. We see significant growth potential across all of our U.S. markets as more families get connected with Joshin’s experienced ‘Joymaker’ caregivers. The value proposition of Joshin is clear, and we are excited to continue to grow with the support of our investors.”
Caregiving for all families, especially for children and adults with special needs or disabilities, has come to the forefront of the national conversation during the COVID-19 crisis. With millions of kids home from school for months, and with summer camps and day services canceled due to the pandemic, parents have been searching for new options for caregiving. The challenges are especially severe for families with special needs, who are often underserved or overlooked by conventional options for caregiving support.
“The community of families with special needs is a massive, underserved market,” said Matthew Jones, Principal at Anthemis. “Joshin has created a compelling technology that is well-targeted to the unique needs of this market and this community, and we believe that their business model shows exceptional potential for continued growth. We believe that Joshin has big potential to scale up this growth and replicate this success on a national level.”
In addition to the successful fundraise, Joshin also announced that it has secured strategic advisor: Michael Kutcher, a prominent activist, advocate and keynote speaker in the disability community. Based in Denver, Colorado, Michael Kutcher is an assistant vice president for Transamerica and has also served as a spokesperson and advisor for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Reaching for the Stars, A Foundation of Hope for Children with Cerebral Palsy and the Be the Gift donor registration campaign. In his advisory role with Joshin, Michael helps the company continue to shape its strategy and expand its services for nationwide growth to serve the disability community through technology.
“Joshin is establishing itself as the leader in special needs support, with a brand that families can trust and should turn to for care,” said Michael Kutcher. “I’m honored to be part of the Joshin team as we make progress toward nationwide growth and building a special needs community.”