On the heels of winning our second Caregiver Friendly Award, our CEO Ray Spoljaric gives an inside-look interview on Aloe Care Health’s past, present and future in a recent AlleyWatch. Read our origin story; find out what inspired our recent, mission-driven investors City Light Capital, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, Springbank Collective, and Drumbeat Ventures; and get a sneak peek into what’s ahead for Aloe Care’s “modern take on a 40 year old market in need of innovation.” This in-depth AlleyWatch interview with Ray Spoljaric has it all.
In Ray Spoljaric’s words, “we are disrupting a 40-year-old, $12.5B market that hasn’t seen real innovation in decades.” Here at Aloe Care Health, we provide you with 21st century solutions to stay safe, connected, and reassured in the comfort of your own home.
Read the full interview below or on the AlleyWatch site.
--Aloe Care Health Raises $5M for its Modern Medical Alert System for the Elderly and Their Loved Ones--
Medical alert systems or personal emergency response systems are a quick way for the elderly and those with health issues to receive help when it’s most urgently required. While the first medical alert systems made their debut in the 1970s, the introduction of AI and IoT combined with an aging baby boomer population will lead this market to expand to $17B by 2027. Aloe Care Health is a modern medical alert system that offers live, hand-free communications with family and emergency response teams that has integrated motion, temperature, and air quality sensors. The company’s smart hub is voice-activated and operates on AT&T’s 4G networks without the need for WiFi, connecting concerned family members in seconds without the need for intrusive cameras. Aloe Care Health provides the company’s proprietary hardware for an initial fee that starts at $149.99 for a hub and care button and the recurring monitoring and communication service starts at $29.99 per month.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Ray Spoljaric to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s future plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $5 million in an extension of seed funding; our total raised to date is approximately $15 million. We’re proud to partner with new mission-driven investors – City Light, the Laerdal Million Lives Fund, and Springbank – as well as returning investor Drumbeat Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Aloe Care Health offers.
Aloe Care was started with the dual goals of improving quality of life for both caregivers and those being cared for. Our comprehensive medical alert and eldercare solution gives caregivers all the tools they need to support an older adult living alone.
Our Smart Hub provides elders with live, voice-activated, hands-free communication with their loved ones. It offers 24/7 access to a professional emergency response team and has built-in motion, temperature, and air quality sensors. It is unobtrusive and has a completely plug-and-play setup. We will also be expanding our in-home support with telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring for vitals; we’re making an announcement about a big step forward in that direction later this week in fact.
Our secure mobile app gives family and professional caregivers peace of mind that the elder is safe and provides tools that improve communication and collaboration.
What inspired the start of Aloe Care Health?
Aloe Care Health was inspired by personal need. Like millions of other Americans, I’m a member of the “sandwich generation,” juggling work and family responsibilities while managing the care of aging parents from afar. I needed a way to easily stay in touch with my parents. I needed to see – at-a-glance, any time, day or night – that they were safe. And it was important that they felt empowered by the solution we found – not stripped of their dignity.
I wanted peace of mind for myself, and I wanted to bring a joyful utility into my parents’ home that also provided a safety net.
That solution didn’t exist. So, we decided to build it ourselves. The majority of us at Aloe Care are also family caregivers, including the co-Founders, Evan Schwartz and Lasse Hamre – and we’ve all felt the need for something better. This is deeply personal to all of us.
How is Aloe Care Health different?
Aloe Care is the first of its kind – with a voice-recognition call-for-assistance solution for elders and a family app that makes remote caregiving manageable and effective. No other company offers the level of technological advance applied to elder care and caregiver support. To come close, you would need to create a mash-up of several other solutions, some designed for different, specific use-cases and it would still not achieve parity.
That said, we’ve seen lots of good products in development, each with its own feature set. It’s a very good thing – older adults and the people who care for them really need better solutions. Aloe Care is built as a platform, so we are integrating with the best safety and remote patient monitoring solutions to deliver the most comprehensive service in one app.
I think the market will ultimately determine superiority, but feedback from our customers and professional, independent reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. They seem to appreciate that, despite the behind-the-scenes complexity, Aloe Care is extremely user-friendly, for caregivers and older adults alike.
What market does Aloe Care Health target and how big is it?
Aloe Care targets older adults who wish to live independently, as well as those who are responsible for their care. Consumer demand for in-home, remote caregiving solutions is exceptionally strong, and it’s only just beginning.
The addressable market for our solution — with more than half of all Americans now potentially giving and/or receiving care — is significant. The U.S. population is growing older; 56 million Americans are now aged 65+, and 10,000 Americans hit that milestone every day. Pre-COVID, more than 50 million people reportedly served as unpaid caregivers, a number that is now likely far higher. More than three-quarters of Americans aged 50+ would like to stay in their current homes as they age, meaning that solutions like Aloe Care that give older adults the ability to safely age in place are only going to become more necessary.
What’s your business model?
Currently, Aloe Care is available across multiple business lines, including through a white-label partnership with CVS Health (“Symphony”), private duty home care providers, select insurance partners, and direct-to-consumer online sales.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
Originally, Aloe Care was available through private duty home care and other direct medical alert device installers/sellers.
When COVID-19 hit, it became clear that Aloe Care would be a great fit for consumers. With its voice-recognition call-for-assistance solution for elders and a family app that makes remote caregiving manageable and effective, it just needed one tweak, a true plug-and-play option. So we transformed our Smart Hub and began selling it through partners and direct-to-consumer. If you can plug something into a wall outlet, you can set up Aloe Care, it’s that simple. We still offer a solution that includes automatic fall detection and that does require assistance to set up, but this can be done by a friend or a family member — no deep technical skillset (or stranger in the home) required. The response to a plug-and-play setup and the app has been impressive.
What was the funding process like?
When we kicked off this process, we decided to focus on mission-driven investors who would deeply understand the challenges we were addressing and the impact we can have on families and health care costs. We found true believers in City Light, Laerdal Million Lives, and Springbank.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Having a hardware component can prevent some investors from even opening an email. Fortunately for us, our development and manufacturing is already quite far along. That demonstrated ability to scale took us over that hurdle. We’ve won all of our major partnerships because we built — and can easily customize — the hardware, firmware, and software. The end-to-end platform ownership has created a meaningful advantage for us.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
If you look at just the medical alert system aspect of our business, we are disrupting a 40-year-old, $12.5B market that hasn’t seen real innovation in decades. Our investors recognized that older adults and caregivers are ready for a modern take on a product category that desperately needed innovation. Caregivers are often ignored in the eldercare ecosystem, and we know that caregiving is taking its toll on tens of millions of people.
Beyond the medical alert side of what we do, our investors loved the idea that we are a platform that combines safety, communication, and care coordination. Using machine learning, we can uncover actionable insights from the environmental data in the home and ultimately help deliver better outcomes. This is where our insurance partners, in particular, get really excited about what we are doing.
Finally, our strong momentum with major partners and our revenue and subscriber growth instilled a lot of confidence among our new investors.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Continued innovation on the product side is paramount. We’re about to launch integrations with remote patient vital sign monitoring devices that will be game-changers for many, particularly the ever-growing number of telemedicine users. Later this year, we’ll also be expanding our distribution partners. This will include coverage by Medicare Advantage, among others.
More broadly speaking, as I’ve mentioned, the majority of us at Aloe Care are also family caregivers to older adults. Leveraging technology to help the underserved communities of elders and the people who care for them is deeply personal for us. Helping as many of them as possible is why Aloe Care Health exists. Having a team of mission-driven investors by our sides is incredibly empowering.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Every situation is different, but I will say that there is nothing more important than doing something you truly believe in with people you enjoy and respect. Startups have many ups and downs, the only way to get through it is with passion and laughter. Respecting the audiences you serve is incredibly important as well – our empathy for caregivers (being caregivers ourselves) and a deep desire to better meet the needs of older adults are powerful driving forces.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are in a period of significant growth, so our focus is on delivering the best customer experience to both our customers and our B2B partners.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
My cofounder, Evan, lives in Brooklyn, and he has been raving about the restaurant Miriam for outdoor brunch in a private, heated space.