The Y Combinator summer demo day took place earlier this week. For those unfamiliar with YC, think of it as the Harvard of the tech world, a prestigious and closely watched seed accelerator that is seen by many as a launching spot to greatness.
At the end of each program there is a demo day, an opportunity for the 45 companies in this year’s summer class to present their potential in a very short pitch to investors and the media.
Among the pitches of the so-called”next yelp” and “next google” were two companies that really stood out and received a lot of attention and praise because of it.
They are both focused on benefiting the elderly through disrupting reoccurring problems and improving the status quo.
Amulyte is an innovative take on the life alert, a device to be worn around the neck that senses and alerts specified contacts if the wearer falls. Additionally it has an easy-to-use button that makes calling for help incredibly simple.
What sets apart the device, besides the elegant design and inbuilt accelerometer is the fact that it connects to cellular networks, Wi-Fi and GPS so if it sense the wearer falls over it will then track their movements so they can easily be found. It is available for pre-order at $99 and will have a $29 a month service fee.
True Link has developed a Visa debit card for the elderly and those who are cognitively impaired, specifically designed to prevent fraud and situations where people can take advantage of them.
Using a pre-paid system and wiring each purchase through their own servers, which double-check each transaction for fraud as well as known hot-spots, True Link hopes to put a stop to a significant problem. Available free of charge for the first year with an annual $20 fee every year after.
What these companies have in common, besides targeting a related consumer group, is an awareness that the senior citizen ‘industry’ is an untapped field waiting for disruption and innovative thinking.
Underpinning this innovation is an equally untapped revenue source with Amulyte saying they recognise a $10 Billion in just the United States.
True Link offer similarly large figures, stating that credit card companies make $1.9 Billion annually from their specific demographic of senior citizens.
These figures on their own are definitely impressive; however, thats not even half of it. When one considers that nearly every country has a large soon-to-be-retired population set, the numbers become absolutely remarkable.
Both companies have balanced innovative disruption with easy-of-use and simplicity, an understanding that members of their target demographic aren’t the most tech-savvy and are not particularly excited to introduce another intrusive change to their lives.
They are improvements on existing systems and processes, using available knowledge and technology to avoid the problems to begin with instead of solving them after the fact.
Amulyte and True Link are achieving the rare balance of being in the position to make sizeable sums of money while making meaningful differences for the lives of millions of people.