170+ companies made it into this year’s age-tech market map. The KPIs that were used to screen companies were:
Companies that make technology for older adults and/or family caregivers.
Companies that make technology for service providers that provide services to the older adult population.
Companies that are funded/ have a commercially available product.
Digital health and wellness companies are still the most abundant. Wellness monitoring via smart home sensors and wearables is highly competitive, with giants like Apple, Phillips and Centrica Hive breathing down the necks of startups like Billy or Noomi.
VR for eldercare is going strong and has several different use cases. VRhealth’s goggles are designed for medical and therapeutic purposes, while Rendever’s are used in senior living communities for entertainment and reminiscing. Embodied Labs takes an innovative approach to eldercare, and developed a VR-enabled immersive learning system that provides caregivers with insight that can improve the way they view and provide care for older adults.
VUI – several companies are using Amazon Echo as the hardware to their software. Soundmind offers hands-free communication between staff and residents in senior living communities. Aiva (funded by Google and the Alexa fund) and Livpact’s AI care companions help caregivers provide better care. Another startup that is utilizing Amazon Echo as the hub to their sensors is Alcove, which offers an IoT powered care technology ecosystem for aging-in-place.
Caregiving – startups in this vertical continue to draw investors’ interest. CareAcademy, which has raised $3.2M so far, received funding recently to upskill adults for careers in caregiving. UK based startup Birdie raised €7M to support caregivers in delivering better and safer elderly care at home.
Who made a leap from last year?
GreatCall, a company most known for it’s best-selling Jitterbug phone for seniors, was acquired by Best Buy for $800M. In October, Mobile app and web development firm Vidatec has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Carezapp for an undisclosed amount. To learn more about what happened in 2018, check out the 2018 gerontech recap.
New and Noteworthy
Nuance is tackling one of the toughest issues faced by older adults with hearing difficulties, the Cocktail Party Problem. This issue makes people with hearing loss miss out on social interactions because it’s challenging for them to focus on a single speaker in a noisy environment. For older adults, this might also mean feeling more socially isolated.
In digital health, StartUp Health alumni TrustyCare is on a mission to reduce the chance of seniors going through bankruptcy because of high medical costs. For more age-tech startups worth following in 2019, check out this post.
Nothing prepares you for the monumental task of caring for an aging loved one. Some family caregivers spend a decade providing care. There are marketplaces that can help you hire a carer, find a senior living community, and plenty of online support groups, there’s even an app that enables you to connect with people who have gone through the same thing to get advice.
What’s missing is professional guidance for that specific moment, when dad has a stroke or mother breaks her hip, and all of a sudden you’re in charge.
2 companies that provide guidance to family and professional caregivers are Torchlight and CareAcademy. Torchlight reaches out to family caregivers through their workplaces. They provide family caregivers with expert guidance, tools & action plans. CareAcademy is doing great work in training and educating professional caregivers who work for home-care agencies.
Who’s training and educating family caregivers that don’t fall into those two rubrics? Is there a one-stop-shop for caregiver resources? How will they find Envoy’s concierge service or PillPack’s online pharmacy?
The Youngest Old
10,000 baby boomers retire each day in the US. They have free time and disposable income. They embrace technology into their lives. So why aren’t more tech companies targeting boomers? Why aren’t there more products out there, designed for the youngest old, who just want to get the most out of retirement? In the next few years, I hope to see more companies from travel-tech, fin-tech, ed-tech & food-tech make it to this map and target the older population.