Using Your State’s Data: How Texas Facilitated Cariloop’s Launch

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Talk about a lucky break. Recently a new startup relocated from the Midwest down to Dallas, Texas. To the founders’ surprise, they learned that their new home state already possessed a stash of data that they could use to get their own database off the ground.

This isn’t the first time that a startup has benefitted from a preexisting public dataset. There is an entire conference dedicated to highlighting the ones that have. Now Cariloop, which launched just last week, is a member of the club.

“I was able to go straight to the state of Texas and say, this is what we’re doing,” Cariloop cofounder Michael Walsh said. “We’re trying to help people better shop and be better educated about what they need in terms of geriatrics and senior care. Can you help us understand the market here in Texas? And they were like, sure, we have a complete database. Here you go.”

Cariloop is a both a geriatric care finder for patients and caregivers as well as a communication tool for providers. Caregivers use a detailed search screen to indicate the types of services they are looking for, and that along with a patient’s insurance and payment information, is used to match them to their options. On the other end, care facilities populate their profiles in order to give users a detailed view of their offerings.

The state database comes in on the provider side. Thanks to that information, Cariloop was able to identify geriatric care providers across Texas, the only state Cariloop is available in so far. Uploading the data was step one. Now step two is getting the providers to come and claim their profiles.

Geriatric care facilities can populate their pages with information about the services they provide, pricing, who their staff members are, and the availability of rooms in the case of assisted living facilities. In addition they can add paperwork, welcome packets, photos and video.

Cariloop uses a freemium payment model for its services. Providers aren’t charged anything to have a very basic profile, and for a monthly or yearly subscription, they can create a much more detailed page. In addition, Cariloop provides them with Google Analytics as well as leads, which describe the path a user took to land on the provider’s profile page.

Walsh said he’s finding that the benefits of putting information online aren’t clear to all of his potential customers, especially when it comes to the idea of displaying prices there.

“Some of them are nervous, and they’re nervous for reasons I guess I can’t completely understand because as a consumer I would want to know,” Walsh said. “When you go shop for an apartment, don’t you want to know the monthly charges? Don’t you want to know your rent?”

Through beta testing, Cariloop has learned a lot about what kind of information it believes should be in a profile. And through a test launch last September, it learned some things it needed to do to enhance its own foundation. Adding the state database was one of them.

Walsh said he hopes to include information on geriatric care providers in Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico by the end of the year. He has yet to find out if these states can offer him a database like the one he was happy to find waiting for him in Texas.

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