This Singapore Start-up Lets Caregivers In On The Gig Economy
CaregiverAsia is using technology to deliver better healthcare in the home
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
By 2030, it is estimated that one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 years and above. And as many countries like Japan and Hong Kong deal with aging populations, coupled with longer life expectancies, the need for caregivers will continue to grow.
Enter Singapore-based CaregiverAsia, a specialist provider of health and caregiving services. Through its online platform, CaregiverAsia serves as a marketplace for providers and seekers of healthcare.
“Care-seekers can access on-time, trusted, and transparent care solutions in the comforts of their homes while freelance caregivers and healthcare professionals can practice independently with full control of their schedules and terms of services,” explains CEO Yeo Wan Ling, adding that CaregiverAsia also specializes in healthcare recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals into leading institutions.
What sets the platform apart is its focus on the needs of Singaporean caregivers, particularly the flexibility to work on their own terms, as in schedule and fees. “We try to empower caregivers with a full suite of services which would help them in optimizing their freelancing career, such as a real time calendaring system, online caregiving awareness courses, and background checks for enhanced profiles,” Yeo says.
Charting a steady course
When the company first started, online booking for caregiving needs was unheard of. People seeking these services weren’t too keen on booking online, and caregivers were unsure about freelancing as a viable career option. CaregiverAsia had to constantly market their services through blogs and testimonials.
When the online platform launched in 2015, Caregiver Asia had just over 20 active freelance caregivers. By the end of 2016, the number has jumped to over 1,000, and in the last two quarters, the company has seen a quarter-to-quarter increase of over 70%. The platform also has close to 5,000 unique visitors every month, which is a tenfold increase from the same period a year ago. At present, Caregiver Asia is preparing for its Series B round of funding.
Ultimately, growth boils down to gaining experience and traction in their caregiving services. “Most of the freelancers become fulltime freelancers when their services and bookings take off. Our active nurses on our platform make sustainable livelihoods even if they had put in fewer hours than they would have on a fulltime job,” says Yeo.
The Caregiver Asia platform classifies caregivers according to two categories. One is the licensed group: doctors, nurses, therapists (physical, occupational, speech), psychologists, dieticians, and nutritionists. And the second group includes those still in training (healthcare assistants), those who have some certification (yoga and pilates instructors), and those who do not have formal certificates but have experience (babysitters, confinement nannies, care companions).
The platform offers real-time calendaring, which is an “excellent solution to modern day urban problems.” For instance, a daughter can remotely book special healthcare assistance in case her mother fell ill and she happened to be overseas. Users have also used the platform to look for a trained medical companion to take a loved one to a doctor’s appointment. Those who can’t take a leave from work can browse and book caregivers on a real time, 24-hour basis.
These features are continuously being fine-tuned by Yeo’s team. For future plans, the CEO discloses that apart from introducing third party background checks, training, awareness, and accreditation packages, CaregiverAsia will also develop geo-location capabilities for caregivers to clock in and out of services, introduce “securely-stored patient medical records,” and incorporate monitoring systems to aid caregivers in delivering their services more effectively.