citybiz+ Duos Raises $10 Million to Enable Older Adults Live Independently

Duos, a health startup aiming to help older adults to live independently, has raised $10 million from Primetime Partners (New York), SJF Ventures (New York and Durham, N.C.) and CEOC Aging Innovation Fund, which is managed by Kentucky-based Castellan Group. The New York firm has so far raised $33 million from venture firms, including a $15 million Series A in 2022.

“Our North Star remains, and has always been, to solve the needs of aging adults,” said Duos co-founder and CEO Karl Ulfers, whose grand-parents living in their 90s has added to his understanding of older adults’ issues. “The fact that staying laser focused on our mission also yields meaningful value for our health plan and employer partners makes the work even more compelling,” added Uffers, a former senior executive of UnitedHealth Group who previously led the digital startup Rally Health.

‘Better Way Seen’

“Everything was bespoke, hyper-fragmented, and the burden of making everything happen falls on loved ones,” Ulfers told the San Francisco venture firm Forerunner, which led its $6.1 million seed round, in an interview. “As soon as I started to see that, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s got to be a better way.’”

Founded during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Duos pledges to reimagine freedom at any age, helping older adults use technology and build community to support fulfilling lives. The company has taken a two-pronged approach — developing AI-powered digital experiences that “capture and prioritize the most important aging needs” for members, and building a workforce of personal assistants that speed up discovery of a member’s coverage options from over 100,000 Medicare Advantage plans.

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“Duos operates at the critical juncture of a growing aging population, increased pressures on unpaid caregivers, and a rapidly evolving Medicare Advantage landscape,” said Abby Miller Levy, managing partner and co-founder of Primetime Partners. “They have proven metrics demonstrating that effectively engaging older adults and their caregivers, and connecting them with underutilized health plan benefits not only improves quality of life for individuals but also drives better outcomes for plans.”

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Meeting Varied Needs
Operating in all 50 states, Duos offers a broad range of services of older adults. They include medical care, care-giving, nutrition, community-building, home safety and transportation. Duos claims it solves 95% of the needs of people over the age of 65 via “closed loop” referrals.

“The unique combination of data aggregation, technology and engagement services makes the Duos approach particularly effective at delivering increased value for health plans, risk-bearing providers, and employer groups grappling with the growing aging crisis in America today,” said Perry Clarkson of SJF Ventures.