Startup innovation at the service of the silver generation
Nearly one fifth (19%) of the EU population is aged 65 and over. This proportion is growing: according to the United Nations, by 2050, one in four people living in Europe and Northern America will be in this age group. Moreover, 32.1% of seniors in the EU live alone.
As the global population is ageing and life expectancy increases, the emerging Age-Tech sector is predicted to grow exponentially in the coming years. However, the digital divide amongst the older population as well as between generations is still very prominent. For example, 80% of the elderly living in Sweden use the internet at least once a week, but only 14% in Greece.
At Allied for Startups, we want to showcase how technology can address societal needs and improve people’s quality of life. In this post, we are sharing five digital solutions that address the needs of the elderly by reducing barriers to digital inclusion, increasing longevity and tackling social isolation.
Here is our list of 5 startups supporting the elderly:
No Isolation is a startup from Norway addressing social isolation and loneliness that disproportionately affects vulnerable groups such as the elderly. One of the startup’s solutions, KOMP, is a one-button computer that looks like an old TV. It enables elderly users to access digital channels and communicate with family members without any prior digital skills. Instead, family members can remotely connect and share their content through an app, as well as send messages or start a video call. The user does not have to worry about touch screens or passwords. Take a look! By the way, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, Karen Dolva, was named as one of the world’s top 50 women in tech by Forbes.
ElliQ is an intelligent and active personal companion, developed by the Israeli startup Intuition Robotics. The tabletop robot uses machine learning and computer vision to keep elders active, independent and engaged. For example, ElliQ makes users’ life easier by answering the phone, reading emails, playing their favourite music or reminding them about doctor’s appointments. Unlike Siri or Google Assistant, ElliQ is proactive. Thanks to its AI-based platform based on contextual understanding, the companion chooses the right time to interact and say something relevant, depending on what is happening in the room. Beta testing has shown that ElliQ is also effective in reducing loneliness and social isolation. Take a look!
Karuna Labs is a San Francisco-based startup offering an innovative way to address chronic pain, one of the most widespread problems affecting the elderly. Founded by neuroscientist turned VR engineer Lincoln Nguyen, the startup developed immersive virtual reality software designed to retrain the brains of individuals with chronic pain. Karuna’s Virtual Embodiment Training™ combines evidence-based techniques from physical therapy, pain psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and functional restoration programs. Check it out!
London-based Lifted was co-founded by Rachael Crook after she experienced how stressful navigating the home care services can be when her mother was diagnosed with dementia. Her startup’s platform enables people to find qualified carers for their elderly family members, offering a variety of personalised options ranging from short term care to live-in or specialised care. Lifted embeds technology in every stage: an app enables users to choose a carer according to their needs, organise carer’s tasks and evaluate the wellness of their loved one. The carers also benefit from the platform’s AI-assisted decision making. After recently raising £1.6m, Lifted is developing AI-based analytics to better predict and prevent health deterioration, and a variety of digital tools.
CetteFamille is a French startup offering an alternative to retirement homes. Founded by Paul-Alexis Racine Jourdren, the startup’s platform matches seniors with certified and trained host families offering in-home care at their own homes. Families can host 1 to 3 individuals at a time, enabling personalised care and a comfortable home environment to the elderly. The service is also 50% cheaper than a traditional retirement home. Earlier this year, CetteFamille raised €4m and intends to use the funds to expand its reach and introduce offers for other actors such as insurance companies.
These are some of the examples demonstrating how startups are adopting cutting edge technologies to pave the way towards a more inclusive, healthier, and longer life for seniors. Startups like CetteFamille and No Isolation are founded out of concrete societal needs. Oftentimes one of the best ways to address societal issues is therefore to support startups. That is why we encourage the European Commission to leverage startups’ potential through the recovery instrument, Next Generation EU.