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The Startup

An insider’s view on Israel’s Thriving Age Tech Ecosystem

Originally published at https://www.thegerontechnologist.com

Photo by Daniel Klein on Unsplash

Israel is known as the “StartUp Nation“. Per capita, it has more high-tech startups and VCs than any other country in the world. It also has a blossoming age tech eco-system, comprised of not only startups but also accelerators, VCs & more.

Startups

In 2010, approximately 35.6 million people lived with dementia worldwide. This number is expected to almost double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.

MyndYou’s technology passively monitors the cognitive and behavioral function of older adults during their day-to-day lives. By analyzing voice and activity using ML and AI, they are able to detect changes that require intervention. Healthcare professionals are provided with data-driven insights so they can more effectively manage decline and deliver personalized care.

BioEye is trying to solve this problem using the user’s smartphone. They track eye movement for screening and are able to detect the early stages of cognitive decline. Healthcare professionals are provided with data-driven insights so they can more effectively manage decline and deliver personalized care.

Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

Loneliness and social isolation are known as risk factors for mortality and morbidity. Older adults who live alone, are especially vulnerable. According to recent studies, 20–30% of older adults are either socially isolated or report feelings of loneliness. Two startups on a mission to tackle this issue are Intuition Robotics & UniperCare.

Intuition Robotics, founded in 2015, raised $22M from iRobot, Toyota AI Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Samsung Next and others. Their first product is ElliQ, a social robot for older adults. ElliQ makes it easy to connect — to family, friends, and the digital world at large. She can assist with sending messages, receiving pictures, making appointments, reminding about medications, and much more. She can also be proactive and will engage with her user throughout the day. (Full disclosure — I work at IR).

UniperCare has developed a TV set-top-box, that allows older adults to socialize in a simple and intuitive way. Its TV-based platform helps with social engagement, performing daily activities and provides access to entertainment.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one-third of persons above 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. TuneFork & Nuance have come up with solutions to two different issues faced by people who suffer from hearing loss.

TuneFork developed an audio personalization software that delivers an optimal hearing experience. Hearing is an individual experience. Each person has a unique hearing “earprint”.

TuneFork guides the user through a simple, clinically accurate test, which characterizes their hearing, creating a personal audio profile.

The test results are used to tailor a precise audio filter for each and every user, creating the perfect match between the sound system and the person’s hearing. TuneFork can be integrated into smartphones, smart TVs, smart speakers, and many other devices.

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.

Photo by Fabian Albert on Unsplash

Falls are a major cause of disability and death in older people. A quarter of the people 65 years or older, fall once a year. Countless startups are trying to tackle this issue. Several Israeli startups have come up with innovative solutions to this problem. Vayyar Imaging was founded in 2011. They raised $79M from Bessemer Venture Partners and others and spent years of developing 3D imaging sensors for various use-cases. In 2018, they released Walabot Home. Aspiring to be the next-generation personal response system, it is intended for use in the bathroom. This wall-mounted device offers automated fall monitoring and requires no wearable and no emergency button to push.

Kytera developed a wellness monitoring solution, that uses home sensors and a wearable wristband to keep track of user activities such as sleep, nutrition, time spent out of home, etc’. The data is analyzed to detect behavioral symptoms of physical and mental deterioration. The system provides insight with clear, easy to understand wellness reports, coupled with actionable recommendations for family members and professional caregivers.

Owlytics was founded in 2015 by professionals working in the healthcare IT sector. Their system uses a wearable wristband for data collection. Machine-learning algorithms can detect abnormal physiological patterns, thereby predicting suspected health events. Owlytics will gradually provide its data analytics solution, via channel partners, into seniors private homes and will support their and families Peace of Mind.

XR health

XR Health developed the XRHealth platform. It includes multiple immersive applications enabling cognitive training, physical measurements and pain distraction, providing real-time analytics for users and clinicians.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

2gether

This very early stage startup already started distribution. The 2gether kits are designed to improve social connections through music. The app immerses older adults and family members in a joint musical-therapy experience.

Medisafe

Founded in 2012, this company raised $21M to develop a medication management platform, that offers healthcare providers real-time insights into patient behavior. This helps healthcare providers develop more effective and efficient interventions, improve adherence, and keep their patients healthy and safe.

Startup Incubator

AEON — the age tech incubator by TechForGood, recently launched it’s second batch of startups. Their incubator offers a personalized program for entrepreneurs that develop solutions for aging at home. The 6-month program is designed to provide each of the startups with everything they need to grow and succeed. TechForGood partnered with Matav, which is the largest home-care provider in Israel, Kimberly Clark and Leumi bank.

Venture Capital

Mediterranean Towers Ventures is the venture arm of the publicly traded Mediterranean Towers, which is the largest chain of retirement communities in Israel. Founded in 2017, this is the first (and only) fund in Israel that invests exclusively in technology companies in the aging market.

Networking Events

Reulgar meetups are hosted by the local Aging2.0 chapter, and can be found in this link.

Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter!

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Keren Etkin

Keren Etkin

Keren Etkin is a Gerontologist and the creator of thegerontechnologist.com

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