Sheik, age 37, was motivated to start his business after his mother, unable to find reliable caregivers for his sister—who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is blind and quadriplegic—was forced to leave her job as a research scientist to care for her. At the same time, his aunt "basically was running an ICU out of her house" to care for his uncle, who suffered from ALS and required round-the-clock care. Sheik, who formerly covered the health-care sector for Capital Markets, a hedge fund, launched San Bruno, California-based CareLinx in 2011.
Each family is assigned a dedicated family advisor to help them navigate the caregiving search—everything from a caregiver's nationality and personality characteristics to their experience and budget. All caregivers undergo regular background checks and are bonded and provided with $1 million in comprehensive liability insurance.
CareLinx provides caregivers to more than 1,000 families a month. Its caregivers are located in 3,000 cities and the top 50 metropolitan areas. There are now over 20 employees; revenues exceed $1 million a year. The company grew 160 percent from 2013 to 2014, and Sheik expects to grow three to four times that this year.
Sheik's secret to success: A personalized approach. Staff come to the job "from a place of genuinely wanting to help, not just trying to profit off this huge opportunity."