An app meant to promote community for baby boomers called Umbrella has raised $5 million in a seed round led by Thrive Capital, with participation from Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, Refactor Capital, Trailmix, Box Group and others.
Venturebeat reported that there are 55 million people in America that are 65 or older, which represents about 16 percent of the country’s population. That age group grew about 15 percent in the last census, which is more than any other segment of the population.
Umbrella is an app that’s meant to connect these people with each other, through a marketplace with a membership model. The app lets seniors sign up for “jobs” and provide their services, like mowing a lawn or painting a fence.
The jobs are charged around $20 an hour, and Umbrella keeps $4 of that. The neighbors can choose to make less money, and the difference goes toward cheaper work for lower-income seniors.
Umbrella costs $199 a year to join. The startup was co-founded by CEO Lindsay Ullman and President Sam Gerstenzang. Both worked at Sidewalk Labs previously, among other places.
“Our Members use Umbrella to maintain their independence and stay connected to their communities — whether that means some help around the house or meeting others in the area,” Ullman said. “We are the easiest way for older adults to continue to live in the homes they love, rather than the traditional alternative of ‘senior living.’”
On the job side, there’s an interface that lets seniors search for open jobs and keep track of what they have coming up. There’s also a “neighbor leaderboard” to entice some friendly competition.
On the member side, users can book jobs and find professionals by job type, like carpentry or painting. Umbrella vets the workers and checks backgrounds and references. For more complex jobs, Umbrella has a list of licensed professionals at what the company says is a “fair price.”