Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Papa Social Transportation

Papa connects older adults to college students for social transportation.

Photo of Andrew Parker
3 1

Written by

Papa connects college students to seniors. They provide what we call social transportation among other things. The students don't just pick up/drop off seniors, but stay with them during their journey. A typical experience includes the student going with the senior to the doctor's office, afterwards going to the grocery store, then taking them home and assisting them with putting their groceries away. The students are like "Grandkids On-Demand."

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Papa supports older adults. As explained above a typical experience usually includes a day of errands, a trip to the doctor, or a ride to the park. We work with active seniors who typically don't have a car and find public transportation to be difficult. Members can call our 1800 number, use the Papa mobile app, or go to our website to request a college student. The entire experience can be tracked through our technology and available to who ever is appropriate (family, themselves, administrator, etc.). Additionally, Papa connects local colleges students to an opportunity to support others in their community. Members (Older Adults) pay $20 per hour which includes up to 10 miles of service. Additional miles are $.50 per mile. We track this automatically in our technology. The students get requests on their mobile app and can accepted ones in their area. Students get paid for this and have a flexible schedule. Additionally, this is a great resume/career builder for students.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user
  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Papa's founder and CEO, Andrew Parker has an extensive background in healthcare. Prior to starting Papa, he helped to grow MDLIVE, a large telehealth provider started out of S. Florida. Andrew's co-founder, Alfredo Vaamonde has built out several successful healthcare IT companies. Most recently he developed an algorithm to prevent RX abuse and waste. Our tech leader, Chris has lead many firms and is a leader in the Florida tech community. Find out more about our team here -

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Papa is currently available to residents in Miami. We launched in January and are preparing to scale to new markets. We would use these funds to launch a marketing campaign and bring on additional college students in the Grand Rapids market. We already have the foundational infrastructure in place to support this pilot and beyond. We are excited to see the value of our solution to this problem and believe it is going to be very valuable to residents. We have already proven this to be accurate. We have about 200 members in Miami as of today. To launch this new market, we would spend about 2 - 3 weeks growing the college student network. Our average customer in Miami spends $172 per month with the service to take members to and stay with them at the doctor, the grocery store, or other locations. We make about 30% of the collected revenue, with the majority going to the students.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

One measure of success will be how many members we are able to enroll through this channel. We also want to evaluate repeat usage throughout the pilot program. We would track this cohort closely and look for ways to improve through the pilot offering. Our intention after the pilot would be to roll it out to more members in the Grand Rapids market and expand to other similar geographies. Beyond social transportation the "Grandkids On-Demand" can also provide house help, tech help, and most importantly; companionship. If they want services beyond social transportation, we charge a monthly membership fee. Reviewing the users and seeing how many go from social transportation to membership will also be a clear sign of success. We will closely track usage over time. If usage goes up with individual members, that will be a sign of success as well.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andrew Parker

Idrees Mutahr To add further clarity to your comments: Seniors find out through google, word of mouth, and local community groups. We get a lot of referrals and have been featured in WaPo, Fortune, Forbes, Tech Crunch, etc. Students find out about us through social media and word of mouth. We have thought about expansion and are now in the process of opening new states. The first state we are opening is Pennsylvania; starting with Pittsburgh. We have a playbook that we have developed that allows us to open new markets while maintaining quality of the experience. We can open a new market in 30 days. Our goal is to have 50+ students available before we open a new market. We have successfully launched new cities in Florida throughout the year and take a similar approach to opening new cities in new states.

View all comments