While Cambia isn’t a traditional Sand Hill venture investor, they are a multi-billion dollar health insurer from the Pacific Northwest that is branching out into investing in health and wellness startups. Kapor Capital and the Collaborative Fund are also participants.
“The thing we liked about Cambia, relative to other investors, is that they have a strong thesis around aging,” said True Link’s CEO Kai Stinchcombe. “If you go into pick a fund on Sand Hill Road, they tend to be youth-centric. But if aging isn’t a big picture trend, I don’t know what would be demographically.” Stinchcombe added that two-thirds of bank accounts are owned by people 60 and older.
True Link produces a debit card with all kinds of safety protections and limits. He got the idea after his grandmother, a retired teacher, would forget about charitable donations she had made while suffering from memory loss. Hundreds of dollars in charges would get racked up on her card every month. By the time the family noticed the issue, his grandmother was donating $50 a day. His family had problems figuring out how to stop it. They called the banks and put their grandmother’s name on do-not-call lists.
“We couldn’t find a financial institutions that cared enough about this situation,” he said. “But it’s basically this massive market. One-tenth of the country’s wealth is held by people like this who are susceptible to fraud.”
True Link’s product is a special debit card and financial account that they launched in the fall of 2013.
Stinchcombe said the card was almost “infinitely customizable.” You can put limits like up to $50 at specific stores like Target or on phone bills. They charge $10 a month in fees to users, who are often children that want to protect their elderly parents from scams. True Link typically gets new customers through word of mouth, or through professional service providers like financial planners or geriatric care managers.
“Our customers save about $195 a month on average and they use our card as a replacement about their checking account,” he said. He didn’t disclose how many customers the company has.
With the new funding, Stinchcombe said he’s thinking about how to expand to other kinds of assets that they could protect, like people’s credit scores or their savings.