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Exclusive: Float gathers $10M Series A for home care staffing

Illustration of an older man walking with a cain assisted by a cutout, empty space for a nurse

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Nurse staffing and pharmacy referral startup Float Health raised a $10 million Series A led by Canvas Ventures, CEO Ryan Johnson tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Health care provider shortages are affecting patients' ability to get timely care and investors are increasingly looking for help in tech-driven marketplaces like Float.

Zoom in: Wave Capital, Y Combinator, Burst Capital, and Also Capital joined the round, bringing Float's total capital raised to $15 million.

  • Individual backers including Instacart co-founder Max Mullen, ASRI VP of strategy Andrew Bartynski, former SV Angel general partner Brian Pokorny, Yelp COO Jed Nachman, and former VP of marketing Brian Osborn, also participated.
  • Canvas general partner Mike Ghaffary joins Float's board.

How it works: San Francisco-based Float contracts with registered nurses and places them in home nursing shifts across California and Arizona, where they handle tasks like administering IV medications.

  • Specialty pharmacies send Float nurse staffing requests, and Float fills them according to time, location and accreditation, and insurance requirements.
  • Current customers include Care Fusion, CVS, Kabafusion, Kroger, Option Care, Optum, Soleo Health, Walgreens' Alliance Rx, and others.

What's next: Johnson foresees Float raising a Series B next spring, as Series A proceeds fuel hiring across engineering, product and design.

The big picture: Driven by provider burnout and high quit rates, health care staffing businesses have drawn nearly a dozen venture deals in the last two and a half years — four of them large raises that tipped companies' valuations over $1 billion.

Between the lines: Float only works with registered nurses and targets those who work at hospitals and have experience in home-based infusion and oncology, per Johnson.

  • To assess the quality of its services, Float tracks the number of visits a patient gets compared to the number they are prescribed.
  • For context, a typical home infusion patient is prescribed 13 visits a year, while the typical Float patient receives 22 visits.
  • Peer-reviewed research suggests that higher ratios of staff nurses to hospitalized patients and more hours spent on nursing care correlate with better patient health.

Flashback: Ryan Johnson has a personal and professional rationale for creating Float in 2021 with co-founder Christy Johnson.

  • Growing up, Ryan repeatedly saw his dad struggle to get appropriate home care for his chronic condition, which required regular IV infusions.
  • "I would see [nurses] show up, poke him five or six times, fail to get an IV, call someone else, and reschedule," Johnson recalls. Other times, a nurse would show up, start him on his infusion, and leave, at which point he might have an allergic reaction. "As an elementary school kid, coming home to that was kind of scary," he says.
  • When he later became a registered nurse, Ryan realized he and his coworkers were looking for a way to turn their extra hours into working shifts outside of the hospitals in which they spent the majority of their time — and that's how Float was born.
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