Dr. Jay Parkinson recently announced that his latest venture, Sherpaa, has raised $1.85 million from O'Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, First Round Capital, Collaborative Fund, and angels including, ex-president of Tumblr John Maloney, and OpenX and Jirafe founder Scott Switzer, TechCrunch reports. Parkinson is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Hello Health, a subsidiary of Myca Health, which offers a "patient management platform" to physicians that includes an EHR, personal health portals, and a suite of online communication tools.
With Sherpaa, Parkinson is mostly focused on helping startups and small companies navigate healthcare and health insurance for their employees. Parkinson tells Xconomy that Sherpaa will save employers between $1,000 and $4,000 year.
The service will provide employees with 24/7 access to doctors via email of phone. Parkinson says that about 70 percent of the time an email or phone call can solve the problem, but when people are in a panic and have no access, they might just go to the emergency room. Sherpaa aims to help "inexperienced employers make the right choices" when it comes to health plans.
“If you’re a company of 100 people, you don’t have the expertise to spend your money wisely,” Parkinson tells Xconomy. “So you go to an insurance broker, they fire back a list of 30 plans, and it’s eenie-meeny-miny-moe to pick the best one. Oftentimes employers over-insure their employees.”
The Sherpaa business model charges employers a monthly fee per employee.
While the startup only currently operates in New York City and has been working with Tumblr and nine other startups in the city, Parkinson has identified about 4,000 other potential customers in town. He aims to take Sherpaa to other cities, including possibly, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Chicago in about a year's time, but not before it works well in New York.