Aging 2.0 Optimize

3 min
October 12 - October 14, 2016


October 12-14, 2016
Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, CA

Last week, Tim Lash, our EVP of strategy and successful aging, served as a judge on the “Pitch for Partners Session” at Aging 2.0 Optimize, a unique and growing conference that sits at the intersection of aging and innovation. The session brought eight startup companies with innovative technologies or solutions in the aging space to deliver two-minute pitches on stage to highlight their solutions. The eight finalists were handpicked by conference attendees out of more than 50 participating exhibitors.

Our mission at West Health is to enable successful aging and our work is focused on creating innovative health and support services that address both the medical and non-medical needs of seniors and their families so they can age in place. Innovative solutions and new technologies being advanced by up-and-coming startups provide a real opportunity to help transform the current healthcare system in service of seniors, but challenges in implementation, scaleability and sustainability need to be anticipated and addressed to ensure they have a lasting impact on senior care delivery.

The session was moderated by Derek Andersen, Founder, Startup Grind and participating judges included David Blais, Senior Managing Director, Guggenheim Partners; Mary Furlong, President & CEO, Mary Furlong & Associates; Sara Marshall, Director of Analytics, Mainstreet; and Greg Walton, Chief Technology Officer, El Camino Hospital.

The eight startups chosen by the audience to pitch their solutions on stage were:

  • Cubigo – a solution which empowers independent living by providing access to key life services
  • UnaliWear – a voice-controlled watch with a built-in cell phone and support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering
  • Rendever – a research-based virtual reality platform to improve the aging process, providing cognitive stimulation and social engagement for the elderly
  • URise – a revolutionary 2-in-1 stand assist + medical walker that helps users independently rise from a seated position then safely transfer
  • Ekso Bionics – an exoskeleton solution that supports or enhances strength, endurance, and mobility for patient’s use with stroke and spinal cord injury levels
  • Nuheara – an intelligent wireless earbud set that gives users control in advanced speech amplification and dynamic sound control
  • GoGoGrandparent – a tool which allows older adults user Uber without a smartphone and order on demand services, caregiver coordination and online support
  • grandPad – a simple senior tablet that anyone can use comes pre-loaded with the essential apps and services seniors need to stay connected, including phone and video calling, spam-free email, and family photo galleries

The pitches were scored on three key criteria: product, pitch and impact. Is this a great idea and is it well executed? Is the product meeting a clear unmet need for older adults? Is there a business model in place that makes sense and is it scaleable and sustainable? Were the presenters’ pitches clear and did they serve as good evangelists of their concept? Finally, the pitches were scored on the potential impact it could have on improving the lives of seniors.

The Audience Choice award went to GoGoGrandparent for its phone-based tool that coordinates and facilitates transportation for seniors with existing vendors like Uber and Lyft, in addition to on-demand services for both the senior and caregiver end-user in mind. The Judges Choice award went to the U-Rise StandUp walker for its simple and senior-centered design which combines a seat lift mechanism with a standard walker. This solution was a clear winner for the judges because of its simple design and ability to make an immediate impact on the market.

Thanks to Aging 2.0 conference organizers and the participating judges and startups for sharing their perspectives, innovative technologies and solutions for aging. Their work is integral to helping build a healthcare system that properly supports an aging America and enables seniors to successfully age in place, with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. We were proud to be a supporter of this year’s conference, and look forward to 2017.

Timothy Lash
President, Gary and Mary West Foundation
President, West Health Institute
President & Chair, West Health Policy Center