On March 31, 2022, on-demand healthcare interpreting platform Jeenie announced a USD 9.3m series A funding round led by Transformation Capital. Jeenie CEO and Co-founder, Kirsten Brecht Baker, told Slator the round valued the company at approx USD 34m.
Launched in 2018 after a successful seed round, the Washington DC-headquartered startup originally catered to international tourists visiting the United States. Once Covid hit, however, the business pivoted to healthcare.
The company decided to raise funds to take advantage of its current traction and growth: Jeenie’s MRR is currently growing at 25% monthly.
Jeenie now plans to grow its team significantly, specifically bringing onboard more engineers and product experts.
“As a product-focused company, we will never stop making improvements to the overall user experience and user interface for both our clients and the interpreters who work on our platform,” Brecht Baker told Slator.
While both patients and healthcare providers can use Jeenie, almost 90% of customers are healthcare enterprises, including doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.
Jeenie’s app is available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Users can request interpreters, either in advance or on demand, for more than 300 languages, including American Sign Language and hard-to-source indigenous languages spoken by immigrants from Central and South America.
Jeenie is certainly not the only remote interpreting provider to see a boom in business during the pandemic. LanguageLine and CyraCom are incumbents in the field, with major market penetration, while the products offered by Boostlingo and Stratus Video (acquired by AMN Healthcare in 2020) are more comparable to Jeenie’s platform.
Baker explained Jeenie’s USP: “Jeenie has a significant advantage in user experience and user interface because our platform was designed from the start to serve the client directly. Our setup is faster and our user experience is simpler and more versatile, especially given the ability to access Jeenie from a smartphone so your interpreter can move with you from the hospital room to the field.”
Rather than using call centers or operators, Jeenie’s interpreter “marketplace” operates on a gig-economy model. Baker said that interpreters can earn higher wages working on the Jeenie platform, without a middle man. (Jeenie charges customers by the minute, and pays interpreters by the minute.)
“We connect an interpreter to the end-user anywhere in the world using algorithms that match the interpreter to the client’s needs,” Baker said. “Interpreters on our platform prefer to work for Jeenie because they work under our flexible workforce model, which gives them the full ‘gig’ model flexibility of working when they want to, and not committing to a fixed schedule.”
According to Baker, Jeenie’s more than 11,000 interpreters, located in more than 150 countries, have an average of 10 years of experience. Interpreters must hold national or international certification, if available in their language pair, and must be trained in HIPAA protocols, to protect patient confidentiality.
So far, the company has no plans to branch out into other language services, preferring instead to partner with other language service providers as needed to meet clients’ needs. At the same time, other industries are keen to bring Jeenie into their operations — particularly immigration and refugee support.
“We are highly mission-driven, so our primary focus at this moment is to provide interpreting to make critical services, like healthcare, more equitable and accessible,” Baker said.