2018 was a good year for age-tech (here’s last year market map). From the GreatCall exit to Devoted Health’s monster round, let’s recap what made this a remarkable year.
Who Got Acquired?
The biggest news item of 2018 was definitely GreatCall’s acquisition by Best Buy. This was both Best Buy’s largest acquisition to date, as well as the biggest exit in Gerontech history.
GreatCall, a veteran of the gerontech industry, was founded in 2005 to provide aging adults with accessible technology and services. They’re most known for creating the best selling “Jitterbug” phone, but their line of products also includes a smartphone for seniors and several connected health products. Those of us who’ve been following Best Buy’s efforts in the older adult market (aka, Assured living), were not surprised to hear that GreatCall was acquired for $800M.
Another noteworthy acquisition is PillPack, which was acquired by Amazon for just under $1B. PillPack is a full-service online pharmacy. The older adult market is an obvious market for this service. Going to the pharmacy and sorting all the medication can be a time-consuming chore for older adults and family caregivers, not to mention the danger in confusing medications with one another.
In October, Mobile app and web development firm Vidatec has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Carezapp for an undisclosed amount. CareLinx, a caregiver marketplace, was acquired by Generali Global Assistance for an undisclosed amount.
Lastly, WiseWare, a startup that sold activity-tracking jewelry to older adults, was purchased by CarePredict for $110,000.
Apple’s Big Announcement
In September, Apple announced that the Apple Watch 4 got FDA clearance, and will be able to detect falls and irregular heart rhythm. This feature automatically turns on If a user enters their age and they are 65 and older.
When I created the Gerontech Market Landscape of 2018, I predicted that the apple watch will someday dethrone mobile medical alarms, simply because it already had the hardware to do it. Will this be the end of clunky mobile medical alarms? Probably not in the near future, considering the price tag. However, Apple is already talking to Medicare providers about subsidizing the watch for at-risk seniors. For seniors who can afford it, there’s really no reason to get a regular mobile PERS when they can get an apple watch, that offers more functionality and looks AMAZING.
Notable Funding Rounds
The biggest funding round of 2018 was Devoted Health’s $300M monster round. Founded in 2017 to sell health insurance to seniors, the Anderssen Horowitz led funding round brought the company to a valuation of $1.8B.
Who Got Rebranded?