Kevala raises $4M to address healthcare labor shortage with software for long-term care facilities

Kevala CEO Todd Owens. (Kevala Photos)

The pandemic has exposed the U.S. healthcare labor shortage. Now a Seattle startup is aiming to help fill the gap.

Kevala just raised $4 million for its platform used by long-term care facilities for staffing, compliance, and more.

Vulcan Capital led the round, which included participation from Costanoa Ventures, High Alpha and PSL Ventures. Kevala spun out of Seattle startup studio Pioneer Square Labs in April.

The company’s initial focus is helping senior living centers and skilled nursing facilities access supplemental nursing staff. Its technology lets users build a curated pool of on-call nurses and quickly fill shifts. Kevala is already working with 38 customers.

“As the demand for nurses outstrips the supply, and the gap widens, the healthcare labor shortage is becoming a national crisis,” said Kevala CEO Todd Owens.

Kevala itself has a pool of about 50 credentialed nurses that are used to help address temporary staffing needs by customers. It makes money by selling software and also taking a cut of wages to supplemental staff.

“We’re incredibly excited to work with Kevala to develop a unique platform that will enable us to better manage our care team’s time and scheduling — to ensure everyone is in the right place, at exactly the right time — and do it with the same technology they are already using in other parts of their lives,” Kris Engskov, president of Aegis Living, said in a statement.

Owens said long-term care is one of the fastest-growing segments of healthcare but also the most under-equipped with technology.

“By building an integrated and intelligent SaaS solution, we are able to usher in a modern work environment and significantly impact a facility’s bottom line,” he said.

Kevala plans to address other workforce management and care orchestration opportunities in long term care.

Owens is a longtime startup leader. He previously led staffing company TalentWise, which was acquired by Sterling Talent Solutions. Owens was also CEO at Appuri (acquired by DocuSign) and Azuqua (acquired by Okta).

His co-founders are Noah Kusz and Patrick Lawler, former colleagues at Azuqua, and Jake Gordon, previously at a senior software architect at EagleView and principal software engineer at LiquidPlanner. Kusz and Lawler also previously worked at Pro.com.

Owens said the pandemic has had both positive and negative effects on revenue. Kevala is seeing increased bill rates for nurses due to crisis pay, but facilities stop admitting new patients and cut staff when COVID-19 outbreaks occur.

Kevala has five employees and plans to grow its team with the new funding.

Digital health startups broke a record for funding through the first three quarters of 2020 as the pandemic accelerates the use of technology across healthcare.

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