30 July 2022 |

Health Care in College Sucks

By workweek

New digital health startup Caraway raised $10.5 million to revamp health care on college campuses for the Gen Z women+ population. This is great news since health care on campuses is notoriously awful. Caraway will leverage technology to make all-encompassing health care accessible for college students who, conveniently, are always using their smartphones. 

The Deets 

Caraway spun out of a partnership with 7WireVenture, OMERS Ventures and digital health experts Lori Evans Bernstein and Joshua Tauber. This latest fundraising round comes from 7WireVenture, OMERS Ventures, Hopelab Ventures and angel investors.

Caraway is a digital health app that Gen Z women+ on partnered college campuses can download to their phone, giving them 24/7 access to a whole team of clinicians and providers:

Currently, health care on college campuses is abysmal. According to a Washington Post survey of college campuses, around 70% of sampled colleges didn’t have a full-time psychiatrist and one-third didn’t have a full-time physician. So much for $60,000 tuitions, am I right?

Alyssa Jaffee from 7WireVenture sums it up nicely:

Caraway will focus on women+ for several reasons, according to OMERS Ventures investor Chrissy Farr:

  • College populations skew female.
  • Women are under-diagnosed and mistreated.
  • Reproductive health is one of the top reasons students visit their college health services.
  • About twice as many women as men experience depression.

Caraway will launch on college campuses this fall in New York and California.

Dash’s Dissection 👨‍🔬

The healthcare status quo isn’t ideal for Gen Z-ers who prefer hybrid care and ease of access. Therefore, Caraway’s niche focus on Gen Z women+ and college campuses will shake things up in the virtual care world. To my knowledge, this is one of the first companies focusing on a generation of people. And, Gen Z is certainly a unique generation.

Able Partners and Springbank Collective recently published a quantitative and qualitative research study to see how Gen Z navigates healthcare. It shouldn’t surprise you that nearly 100% of Gen Z-ers own a smartphone and 55% of them use it more than five hours per day. This generation prefers in-person health care, but they have high expectations for flexibility. Alas, the “hybrid” model of care that elegantly balances in-person and virtual services.

Gen Z wants telehealth options and the ability to text or call their clinicians or providers. They also expect quick responses and easy scheduling, although they may not be unique in these desires—millennial me wants them too.

The current generation of students in college was birthed with a smartphone in their hand. Caraway is leveraging Gen Z’s health care desires and targeting the demographic who can benefit most from easier, digital access to gynecologists, family medicine doctors and psychiatrists. I’m excited to see what this company does and the impact they make on campuses for women+.

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