These ventures think so…
In today’s fast-paced world of technology evolution, it seems like everything is geared toward the younger generation. But Stephen Johnston thinks there’s a big demographic that innovators aren’t taking advantage of, and they also happen to be the ones with the most money: the 50 years and above senior bracket. Together with his partner, Katy Fike, he launched Aging 2.0, a platform to connect entrepreneurs, innovators and corporates focused on helping the senior segment of the population live more comfortably. Aging 2.0 recently had an event in New York, where the latest grandma and grandpa-friendly ideas were on display. And what better place that in an assisted living center for seniors?
The presenters of the evening included:
Everplans: While using the Internet to share all the “happy transitions” in her life, like her wedding and pregnancy, Abby Schneiderman wondered what people did during the “unhappy transition,” like illness and death. Together with her partner, Adam Seifer, she launched Everplans to ensure that everyone can have a plan in place. Starting out as a content-only site, the duo decided to expand into creating a handful of essential items people need to get started once they enter information – like resources on how to write a will if a user states he/she hasn’t already written one. The site also allows users to set who can have access to their information. Everplans has started working with a few hospitals and healthcare facilities to guide their patients through some of the sticky decisions they might have to face later.
VitalCare: Brothers Dave and Chris Gaur were one of the winners of the PILOT Health Tech NYC program with their idea for VitalCare, a startup that delivers health information through telecom facilities. The main goal was to improve the quality of healthcare, increase access and decrease cost. The tablet app allows users to enter data for items like glucose, blood oxygen and blood pressure. This is then sent to a healthcare expert at a remote location in a color-coded form, making it easy for the expert to focus on variations in the readings based on customizable, pre-determined ranges. The program is voice-dictated, giving users audio instructions and allowing them to speak answers to daily questions. A 4-digit pin and secure ID means only authorized individuals can access the data. For now, there is a self-care model and a kiosk model for facilities like retirement homes.
VitalCare currently partners with students at Pace University and is in talks with Cornell.
Pixie Scientific: Pixie Scientific created smart diapers that let healthcare providers monitor a patient’s hydration levels, and whether he/she is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), all achieved via a panel on the outside of the diaper that can be scanned through the mobile app. The panel contains reagents that mix with elements of the patient’s urine and change the color of the markers on the panel. Within 10 seconds of scanning, the information is sent to a cloud storage system and after a reasonable amount of data has been collected, the program instructs the healthcare provider on what steps to take to either prevent or treat the UTI. The product is currently in a pilot study awaiting FDA approval and will retail for about $1.50 per diaper.
iMedicare: Flaviu Simihaian, founder of iMedicare, developed a software program that would help pharmacies assist customers when dealing with Medicare. He believes that pharmacists are more qualified than insurance brokers – or anyone else, for that matter – in advising customers what plans to sign up for. To streamline the process, Simihaian developed iMedicare, an iPad app that allows pharmacists to compare plans and prices, keep track of their customers’ prescriptions, and recommend therapeutic and low-cost substitutes/alternatives. The company is targeting private pharmacies, with revenue coming in from a subscription model and small commissions from the sale of certain plans.
QoL Devices and RespiRight: Bez Arkush was one of the few presenters who was actually part of the target demographic of the evening. Capitalizing on the trend of the consumerization of medical devices, he developed RespiRight – a mobile-based respiratory muscle training and testing device with 10 levels. Arkush’s main goal is to help those with breathing issues like asthma, post-operative patients and people suffering from heart issues to breathe right. Athletes are also a targeted demographic for the product, with the intent of helping intense sportsmen and women like runners and swimmers increase their stamina and training strength by developing their breathing.
Act!vate: Designed to stimulate users, physically and cognitively, Act!vate is a wholesome gym experience custom-designed for people above 45. Co-founder Martin Pazzani wants to change “the trajectory of aging” and through a scientific process has developed multiple stress reduction and physical and brain exercises to assist in neurogenesis. Apart from the gym, there are elements like apps and books that have mind exercises, based on the belief that aging can be resisted by continually learning. The membership is comparable to a high level gym and members have their data quantified from the minute they step in. Pazzani is considering sharing member data with insurance and healthcare companies, depending on privacy concerns.
MyGrove: MyGrove is a social management platform aimed at connecting active adults or “oldsters”, between the ages of 55-75. Spencer Morgan, one of the founders, realized after talking to his grandmother that seniors share things online with a purpose, and with those they know. The platform is divided by interests and geography, with the goal of connecting people within localities. There are regional events and publications which supplement the main revenue stream, which is advertising.
PurePillow: To deal with his severe asthma, founder Andres Roban fashioned pillows into certain shapes to help him sleep better. When his friend was in a neck brace, he made her a pillow with a hand rest. These situations made him think about “putting America to sleep, one pillow at a time.” The four models available deal with ailments like sleep apnea, cramped hands from cradling one’s head, neck and back pain, and snoring. The pillows are available through Sears, and one the company’s website..
Pfizer: Christopher Gray, director for corporate social responsibility at Pfizer, launched Getold.com a site with three user goals – to Inspire, Declare (their ages) and Explore (aging), all in an effort to get a dialogue about aging started. The site allows users to upload videos and pictures of their experiences with aging, and provides information on things like financial security – without a single mention of any Pfizer product. The company is looking to tailor the site to an international audience since, according to Gray, “different cultures view aging differently.” After Turkey and Germany, India is next in line to get it’s own, customized aging site.
Aging 2.0 will have its next event in Boston followed by a hackathon in Stanford in the upcoming weeks. Keep an eye out for the next time they’re in your city to stay on top of the latest innovations for the 50+ crowd.
Image credit: CC by Donnie Nunley