Mon Ami Raises $3.4M To Tackle Social Isolation in Aging
By: Mon Ami
/ October 3, 2019
There’s more to life than checkups. Mon Ami is helping families to bring joy to aging.
We are thrilled to announce that Mon Ami has raised $3.4 million in seed capital. The round was led by Jenny Lefcourt at Freestyle Ventures and Aileen Lee at Cowboy Ventures, with significant participation from Maverick Ventures, Freestyle Ventures, and angel investor Bruce Dunlevie. We’re especially proud because each one has experience with family caregiving and sees Mon Ami’s solution as an answer to their own prayers.
“The ultimate solution to loneliness lies in each of us. We can be the medicine that each other needs.” — Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General under Obama
Technology and social media are replacing time we could be spending face to face with time spent absorbed in screens. Our definitions of family and connection are changing, and structures around us have evolved to support those divisions, particularly for our elderly population. In the mid-nineteenth century, 70% of people over the age of 65 lived with their adult children. At the end of the twentieth century, fewer than 15% did so. For young and old alike, this means we’re lonelier than we’ve ever been.
This isolation feels like a crisis when tragedy strikes. From our personal experiences and speaking with hundreds of other families, we witnessed the trauma in families when an aging parent is diagnosed with dementia, or falls and needs full-time care, or can’t live on her own anymore. There is so much worry, fear, and a feeling of immense responsibility, one that falls on the shoulders of millions of American women caring for aging parents while working full-time and juggling their own parenting responsibilities. But more than anything, there is a feeling of wanting to do what is best. We heard over and over that there are myriad ways to ensure physical safety and care, but what’s hardest to provide is everything that makes us human: joy, connection, meaning, enrichment.
Mon Ami’s solution to this challenge grew out of a Stanford design class in early 2018, and it’s a simple one: It’s people.
We’re building a world-class technology platform to connect people across generations and experiences. Through Mon Ami’s online marketplace, families can easily book visits with energetic, kind, and highly motivated young people who love spending time with older adults. It’s not caregiving, it’s the joy of good company. The result?
A 103-year-old woman who lives in a nursing home has daily visitors from local colleges to play her favorite German folk songs. Afternoons of quiet are transformed into afternoons of song and storytelling.
An 86-year-old with early-stage dementia meets weekly with a college student for photography walks, proving that the love of learning knows no age limit.
Family members far and near feel good that their loved ones experience life more fully. As one of our customers said, “I work 50 hours a week, in the Bay Area, and look after my 90 year old mother. Your service is such a blessing because it helps me out, a few hours a week, by providing human interaction, conversation, and kindness.”
With this new funding, we’re hiring a team of mission-driven technologists and growth hackers to expand our Bay Area pilot and bring our solution to additional geographies. Our society is aging rapidly, which means we can’t move fast enough to bring joy and connection. We’re incredibly lucky to have fantastic partners on our side to help us realize this vision.
About the team:
Joy Zhang worked previously on the World Health Organization’s aging team and is a self-described old soul, serving as a volunteer in hospice and dementia care since high school. Madeline Dangerfield-Cha’s passion is in education and providing meaningful opportunities for young people, and her best friend is her grandma, Gaga. Steve Fram has served families for more than 20 years as the first technical executive at BabyCenter and the co-founder and CTO of Caring.com. He also cared for his mother during her decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s, and Mon Ami is the meaningful life enrichment he wishes she’d had.