Clipboard Health, an app-based marketplace that connects nurses with open shifts at nearby healthcare facilities, announced today that it has raised $80 million in two unannounced rounds, a $50 million Series B round in 2021 and a $30 million Series C round this year, at a $1.3 billion valuation after silver. CEO Wei Deng said the proceeds will be earmarked for hiring across all areas of the business, including engineering, sales and marketing.
Short-staffed health facilities represent a long-term problem that the pandemic has made more acute. Since March 2020, the number of people working in US hospitals has fallen by more than 2%, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, while emergency room wait times have increased. A recent analysis of workforce data by Premier found that staffing shortages have cost hospitals $24 billion during the pandemic.
In addition to deteriorating care for patients and skyrocketing costs for administrators, understaffed facilities lead to burnout among healthcare professionals. A 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post poll found about three in 10 healthcare workers were considering leaving the profession, while about six in 10 said pandemic-related stress had hurt their job. Mental Health.
“It’s a feedback loop that grows as the more medical professionals leave the field, the more likely those who remain are to burn out quickly from their increased workload,” Deng told TechCrunch. in an email interview. “The only way to change this harmful trend is to radically increase the number of healthcare professionals interested and having access to opportunities in hospitals and nursing homes. To do this, you cannot rely on the old ways. These are the tools that won’t solve the current problem.”
Clipboard Health staff dashboard. Picture credits: Clipboard Health
One tool that could — she believes somewhat biasedly, being its founder — is Clipboard, an online marketplace that matches nurses, nursing assistants and other healthcare professionals with facilities in need of staff. Using the platform, facilities can post the shifts they need to fill, and healthcare workers can book those shifts, managing their schedules through Clipboard’s mobile app.
Currently serving workers in more than 30 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, the goal is to bring Clipboard to “many more” places by the end of the year, a said Deng. “What we’re doing is enabling healthcare professionals to sign up for shifts when and where they want, often in settings where they’ve never worked before, and leverage their latent hours if they want to. So hospitals and nursing homes are tapping into a much larger pool of healthcare talent, and at the same time healthcare professionals are seeing a lot more opportunities,” said she added.
Deng founded Clipboard six years ago, after being a partner at law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell and investment bank Moelis & Company. Prior to Clipboard, she also led product management and business operations at Sendwave, an international money transfer startup.
“I started looking for customers with economic issues that we could try to fix, or broken markets that we could work to fix,” Deng said. “Meeting with many potential clients, I saw how many healthcare professionals I spoke to — how many nurses — wanted the opportunity to do the job they loved on their own terms, with more flexibility. Eventually, we realized that the healthcare talent market was broken. You have healthcare facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes, that are chronically understaffed. You have healthcare professionals healthcare, like nurses and certified health care aides, who are overworked and burned out, especially during COVID .And you have patients who fall through the cracks, because they can’t get the care that they need.
Clipboard is a two-sided marketplace, with over a thousand healthcare institutions and tens of thousands of professionals as customers. Besides incumbent recruitment agencies, Deng acknowledges that there are several startups with similar business models to Clipboard, such as NurseDash, CareRev, and Nomad Health, which focuses on travel nurses. But she notes distinctive features of Clipboard’s platform, such as instant payment after shifts.
“[W]hat [the] the software works well [is] reduces information barriers. In this case, the information is about who needs shifts and who is willing to fill them,” Deng said. “American society is aging. The country will need more and more nurses. But the United States cannot even meet their care needs now. How are we going to achieve this in 5 to 10 years when the demand is higher and the supply is lower? We believe that talent marketplaces like ours are a key part of the solution… Our platform gives [new and veteran professionals] access to opportunities and flexibility that a single full-time job could not provide.”
Helen Poitevin, research vice president at Gartner, told TechCrunch via email, “Once dominated by physical recruitment agencies, new digital recruitment platforms are emerging for flexible shift-based or work in industries such as hospitality, retail, logistics, travel and healthcare. Will they survive? We’ve already seen some, like Shiftgig, pivot. Others, like Jyve, appear to be bankrupt.Like today’s gig platforms, these new digital recruiting platforms must create robust matching and optimization technology as well as strong brands to attract both employees and employers. The best will use technology to make flexible employment compliant, highly reliable, faster, easier, and a better experience for everyone involved. In this case, employers might even want to use them for their own employees in addition to temporary workers. Other platforms will simply look like traditional recruitment agencies with a digital front-end – less disruptive and more easily replicated by those same traditional employees. employment agencies.”
Some experts believe that reliance on contract nursing, which often commands higher salaries compared to staff positions, leads to a vicious cycle of hiring in the healthcare sector. Hospital administrators spend more on hiring contractors, making them less able or less willing to raise their nurses’ salaries.
The average salary for a traveling contract nurse has risen from $1,000 to $2,000 a week before the pandemic to $3,000 to $5,000 since after the pandemic, reports the Associated Press.
But Deng rejects the idea, arguing that Clipboard “leaves[s] both sides of the market choose each other. In other words, health facilities can pay below market rates if they find a nurse willing to take over.
“It’s really easy and simple for our customers, and that’s how we think it should work for everyone,” she continued.
Underscoring the appetite for startups like Clipboard, venture capitalists in the United States invested $37.9 billion in digital health startups in 2021, up 75% from $21.7 billion. dollars in 2020, according to CB Insights.
The Clipboard mobile app. Picture credits: Clipboard Health
Clipboard, riding the wave, plans to use the data generated by its platform (for example, how healthcare institutions source talent) to glean insights into the broader healthcare market. “[We have a] data science team that supports our market, sales, support and marketing teams, and we do our best to make smart matches that meet the needs of facilities and caregivers,” she continued.[W]We are doing everything we can to address the issue, including machine learning, because we believe it is important and will affect many lives.”
Clipboard’s gross revenue has increased approximately 25-fold over the past 18 months, and the latest funding brings the company’s total capital raised to $90 million. That, according to Deng, should be enough avenue to build new teams to support the company’s growing business.
“[The pandemic] caused tremendous stress on the system, and healthcare personnel have yet to recover. Fewer people are working in hospitals now than they did just before the pandemic hit. This means healthcare facilities are still scrambling to find caregivers to fill shifts,” Deng said. “Our customers have been at the center of the storm, and I’d like to think that our product has made it easier for patients to get better care, and changed a lot of lives. I hope we are getting closer to being out of the woods. But the deeper, chronic trends driving the healthcare talent shortage remain.”
The last round of Clipboard was led by Sequoia Capital, while Series B was led by IVP. Other investors include Y Combinator, Caffeinated Capital, Initialized Capital and SciFi VC.