When it comes to finding someone to take care of your kids or your aging parent, the on-demand aspect of services that some businesses offer is not really a selling point. The most important element is trust and the peace of mind that you’re hiring a qualified person to take care of some of the most important people in your life.
Onēva enables employers to offer elder, infant and child care, as well as housecleaning and other in-home services, as employee benefits. All of Onēva’s providers are verified through FBI background checks, criminal background checks, reference checks and ID verification. Of those who apply to be a caregiver, only six percent get through the startup’s screening process. This startup is basically bringing the gig economy to the corporate world and without all the risks of hiring an unvetted person.
Onēva has been piloting its program with Microsoft since February of this year, and the results have been “staggering,” Onēva CEO Anita Darden Gardyne, a proud 54-year-old black woman, told TechCrunch.
“The fact that it’s being brought about by a woman, and a minority woman at that, is pretty cool,” Microsoft Director of Supplier Diversity and Global Procurement Fernando Hernandez told TechCrunch.
Male employees are booking more than 60 percent of the in-home care jobs, with families spending 2.5x more than what Onēva had initially forecast. On average, each family is signing up for more than two services via the platform. More than 40 percent of the people who sign up request three or more different services.
“The elderly care we provide is an evergreen market,” Darden Gardyne said. “From a corporate perspective, there’s no data about how elder care affects the workforce. But elder care is the hidden giant in the room that we know either because we experience it at home or know other people who are having this as an issue right now.”
All in all, Microsoft says it’s been a popular employee benefit offering so far. The aim is to roll it out to all Microsoft employees down the road.
“There’s a need for it in the market,” Hernandez said. “Whether you’re at the young end and need child care or at the other end looking at elder care or find yourself in that sandwich generation where you need both, the need is high.”
Onēva projects doing over $10 million in revenue in its first year of operating. But in order to scale, Onēva will need more capital. Onēva has raised $850,000 to date from friends, family and some angel investors. It’s worth mentioning that just a little over 10 black women in the startup industry have hit the $1 million fundraising mark.
“I am very thrilled to be on the cusp of breaking that million-dollar mark and am confident that will happen in short order,” Darden Gardyne said. “My investors are thrilled with our progress and our results, given our limited investment. It speaks to what we already know — that women and women of color in particular are highly efficient. In this moment, as we scale, having been starved by institutional investment has only made us stronger. It means I own more. It means we’re agile.”