Like Family combines tech with empathy to help the vulnerable

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Like Family combines tech with empathy to help the vulnerable

Social impact startup Like Family is on a mission to combat isolation and loneliness, combining empathy with technology to connect vulnerable people with compassionate carers.

The company was launched in 2016 by Jenna Leo and Mathieu Bertrand after the married couple struggled to find appropriate social care for Mathieu’s parents, who were recovering from lung cancer and encephalitis.

Busy with their day jobs, Jenna and Mathieu couldn’t be there to provide his parents with round-the-clock support. And it wasn’t medical care his parents needed — just assistance with getting around the neighbourhood, some good company, and social activities to help them connect with their community. They needed someone – like family – for when their family couldn’t be there.

So they left their full-time careers to create a marketplace that connects Australians with carers from their own local communities.

The NDIS-approved service allows isolated Australians to find trustworthy social carers that are vetted through a verification process that includes police and reference checks, followed by in-person inductions. Caregivers are then matched with care seekers based on similar personalities, hobbies and interests.

“We’re all about real human relationships, so our customers experience a unique blend of in-person and tech-enabled services,” Jenna told The Australian in 2020.

Since its launch Like Family has received over 20,000 applications for social carers and was recognised as the fourth fastest growing tech company in Australia in the 2019 Deloitte APAC Fast 500 report.

The company recently raised over $2m in seed funding and Jenna says that being a part of Tech Central was a key factor in the company’s growth.

“One of the main benefits of Tech Central is being able to network with a large community of forward-thinking entrepreneurs,” said Jenna.

“As founders, we are mostly generalists. So sharing knowledge with specialists that have a diverse range of skill sets – across marketing, product and tech – enables us to make better decisions.”

Another positive about being a part of Tech Central is the access to affordable office space.

“As our team grows, this is the best option to get our team working together and as a result, we are able to work more cohesively,” said Jenna.

Jenna said the $2m funding will help their company fulfil its mission to create more connected communities where all people are valued and cared for.

Impact venture capital fund Giant Leap is one of the company’s backers and venture partner Kylie Charlton said Like Family addresses loneliness in a creative and innovative way.

"Jenna and Mathieu are committed founders with lived experience in this space and a real empathy for their line of work,” said Kylie.

“We look forward to working with them as they continue to grow the business and make a positive impact on the lives of many vulnerable Australians,” said Kylie.

For more information about Like Family, visit the website or read more on their blog.

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