Case Study

Reimagining freedom at any age with an investment in DUOS

Nicole Johnson, Partner

June 2021

3 Minutes to Read

For years we’ve pored over the older adult space at Forerunner, and for good reason: the US population of individuals 65+ is growing rapidly as Baby Boomers age. As the fabric of society continues to shift, there’s a gaping delta between this consumer group’s evolving needs and the legacy products and services that exist to support them. 

We have seen commendable innovation in the market across offerings and business models, but none map back to the unique insights we have about Boomers’ new and emerging needs so they can live their best lives at home. 

Established within Redesign Health in 2020, DUOS is a healthcare platform providing older adults with the resources and partnerships they need to stay healthy and independent at home, like meal services, rides to doctor's appointments, or help around the house. (More simply, you can think of DUOS as a hub for older adults to find friendly, personal, and mostly-virtual assistants.) Unlike the legacy homecare sector, DUOS’ No. 1 priority is member empowerment, which it reinforces through meaningful relationship-building and collaboration with families, health plans, and doctors to help orchestrate the best possible care.

At Forerunner, we’re looking to partner with world-class management teams, and DUOS is a prime example of the dynamic we’re looking for. The team is led by CEO Karl Ulfers who has operated on the cutting edge of digital health for 15+ years, including as the former CEO and CPO of Rally Health and VP of Consumer Solutions at OptumHealth. Karl is surrounded by a notably diverse founding team of operators spanning healthcare and consumer tech — from Accolade, to AthenaHealth, to The Players’ Tribune — and are all uniquely credible to execute on the company’s mission and vision. 

DUOS sits at the intersection of consumer and healthcare tailwinds set to drive ongoing change. 

Demographic shifts: At Forerunner, we always start with the consumer. Older adults’ perennial and increasing desire for independence, growing technology fluency, and heightened expectations for convenience will continue to drive care closer to home — with all three of these trends augmented by Covid-19. 

Healthcare industry shifts: Several trends are converging to set the stage for DUOS. You have the phenomena of Medicare coverage expansion and the increasing prioritization of members’ Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) scores and preventative care.

We see DUOS as shaping culture not only with respect to older adults whose lifestyles and wellness they champion, but also with respect to the novel workforce they’re mobilizing on the service side. 

The model is vertically integrated: the company is hiring a new, humanized workforce of “Duos,” who build high-trust relationships with older adults. Today, that means a mix of stay-at-home moms, early retirees, social workers, and aspiring healthcare professionals — all individuals who are deeply fulfilled by and uniquely credible in creating trusting relationships with older adults through empathy, diversity, and caregiving experience. 

DUOS is transforming the aging and independent living services category, and we couldn’t be prouder to back the team on their mission.

Check out DUOS here and their open roles here.

Unique people. Unique approaches.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.

We’re a diverse team of visionaries and veterans who looked at the VC industry and said: “We can do more.” Together, we’re redefining what VC can be — for consumers who deserve better.