Durham’s Boon App Brings Gig Economy To Healthcare Workers

Sometimes, even nurses need sick days. That’s where Durham-based Boon, a startup dubbed the Uber of the temporary healthcare worker world, comes in.

Ryan Vet, Boon’s founder, used his personal experience as the husband and son of healthcare workers to create a way for employers like dentists and veterinarians to find quick, temporary replacements.

Healthcare practices that need a shift covered can download the Boon app, request a provider, and answer a few questions about the work that’s needed. Like Uber, a healthcare worker can then accept the request for the assignment, and the two will be immediately connected.

Vet saw a hole in the market that he says spends $40 billion a year on temporary healthcare staffing, and decided to innovate the process.

“No one had even attempted to do what we’re doing,” Vet said.

When starting a new company, the hardest part is finding the right team members, he said. Fortunately for the 27-year-old Vet, he’s been in the Triangle for a while and knew a lot of people that made it easier.

For Boon, another difficulty to be solved was sourcing seed capital to launch the platform before revenue would kick in from taking a small percentage of each position filled via Boon. One source: the company has had some great angel investors, Vet said, who have put in $65K. He also personally invested $65K himself.

But the biggest cash infusion came through the crowdfunding portal WeFunder. When the JOBS Act passed in 2016, it made finding funding easier by allowing private and non-accredited investors to invest. Boon raised $115K on the WeFunder platform, for a total of $245K in initial seed funding to get the startup off the ground.

The name Boon comes from an old English word that means to do something good or beneficial, Vet said. That’s something that’s important to him.

Besides the benefit of convenience, Boon also requires that providers be paid fairly.

With one in 10 healthcare providers every day being temporary workers, Vet said in the past it’s been hard to regulate how much the temporary workers make.

Recently, the California Governor signed a bill changing the laws for how workers in the gig economy are classified. The bill doesn’t impact Boon, Vet said, even if it were to spread to other states nationwide.

The bill, known as AB5, excludes healthcare positions, and will allow them to remain as independent contractors.

The timing is perfect for Boon, Vet said, as the need for healthcare is going up and the supply of healthcare providers is going down.

“I think it’s a great app to really impact the lives of people,” Vet said. “It’s about providing that flexibility, paying fairly, and benefitting the patients who are in need of good healthcare.”

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About Laura Brummett 4 Articles
Laura is a GrepBeat intern, covering all areas of tech and startup news in the Triangle. She is a business journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill, minoring in studio art and history. Reach her by email at laura@grepbeat.com or find her on Twitter @laura_brummett.