CareLinx has landed a new AARP partnership with “massive” business upside, according to Sherwin Sheik, the online home care network’s CEO.

Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based CareLinx connects individuals across the country in need of home care services to its pool of more than 300,000 vetted, licensed and technology-enabled caregivers.

The company — purchased in September 2017 by Generali Global Assistance, part of the Generali Group — has raised at least $5 million in total funding. General Global Assistance is the third largest insurer in the world with more then $80 billion in annual revenues.

CareLinx announced it had landed a preferred partnership arrangement with AARP last week. As part of the arrangement, AARP’s millions of members will now be able to be matched based on compatibility with CareLinx’s private in-home caregivers for a reduced cost.

“We’re very fortunate, given our relationship with AARP, that they’ve been able to see over the years how we differentiate ourselves from the competition in terms of quality, cost and overall service delivery,” Sheik told Home Health Care News. “From my perspective and from the board’s perspective, this has significant business upside.”

The preferred partnership between AARP and CareLinx is “a first of its kind,” Sheik said.

AARP members new to CareLinx will receive a 3% discount, according to the Washington, D.C.-based organization, which has about 38 million members.

CareLinx isn’t entirely new to AARP. In fact, the online home care network was one of 10 startup companies chosen from dozens of candidates to pitch to venture capitalists and AARP members during the 2012 Life@50+ AARP National Event & Expo in New Orleans. CareLinx ultimately won that pitch competition, earning an AARP Consumers’ Award.

“It’s been many, many years of working closely with them,” Sheik said. “Caregiving has been a huge topic for AARP. It’s top-of-mind to their members, who are typically baby boomers looking to take care of their parents, siblings or spouses.”

On average, CareLinx is able to save AARP members about 25% cost-for-cost versus more traditional agencies, according to Sheik, who recently spoke about staffing challenges throughout the home care industry during the 2018 Home Health Care News Summit in Chicago.

One of the reasons CareLinx was chosen as a preferred partner, Sheik said, was its comprehensive vetting process, which includes background checks, criminal database review, a national sex offender registry check, personality assessments and reviews of previous clients.

Among its offerings, CareLinx also offers support services each day of the week and an app — for Android and iOS — with real-time messaging.

“It is a daunting task for families to find companion in-home care that is a good fit for their loved one’s situation,” AARP Vice President of Services Car giving Sanjay Khurana said in a statement. “AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, which for some means helping people age in place. In-home care is a key element in helping loved ones maintain independence.”

Nearly 80% of adults age 50 and older want to remain in their communities and homes as they age, a 2018 AARP report found. That desire is largely driven by individuals’ wanting to retain connections to homes, friendships, community organizations and local social ties.

Ziegler, a full-service, specialty investment firm and broker-dealer in the senior living and home care sectors, was one of CareLinx’s early investors, according to Crunchbase. Other known investors have included Green D Ventures, Generator Ventures and StartUp Health.

Written by Robert Holly