Centrica is an energy and services company investing in new technology and ideas that will transform the way we live, work and move.[1] Centrica is committed to providing support to people and technology that can change the world, and will be investing £100 million in start-ups, incubation and accelerator programmes by 2022.[2]

As part of this Centrica is running an Active Ageing global start-up challenge, its aim is to find start-ups with tech solutions that help meet the needs of an ageing society. They are searching for technology solutions to help people “thrive as they get older”.[3] Centrica sees start-ups as a well-placed community to drive innovation and create new services and products for Centrica customers, the challenge is being run by Centrica Innovations.

In 2018, 125 start-ups from over 20 countries put forward their ideas to meet the challenge to engage the over 60s and to develop tech solutions that meet their living needs and ambitions. On the 15th March 2018, 10 finalists were invited to London for a pitch day to show case their innovation. A final prize of £100,000 was awarded to Minut (£50,000), EchoCare (£25,000) and  Pillo Health (£25,000):

  • Minut (Malmo, Sweden) – pioneers of a new approach to home security. Their complete home alarm in a single device provides peace of mind by letting users know if something is wrong at home;
  • EchoCare Technologies (Beersheba, Israel) – developers of a non-wearable, self-learning, elder-care home monitoring device that automatically alerts care givers in emergency situations;
  • Pillo (Boston, USA) – an intelligent healthcare assistant for the home. It stores, dispenses and reorders medication, and provides users with the information and services that they need to better manage their safety, health and wellbeing;

Minut was the top finalist taking home £50,000 of Centrica’s Innovations Funding. Minut, a Scandinavian start-up, envisages a new approach to home security. Their solution Point provides both peace of mind and privacy. When walking out the door, the alarm on using the Point smartphone app, if anything is to happen the app will notify the user immediately. Point uses powerful sensors and algorithms to learn more and more about the home environment every day and in doing so it can review the information and suggest how to improve the home environment using the smartphone app. Nils Mattison, CEO of MINUT said: “This prize money will have a positive impact on our business, but the most important part for us is the potential for partnership with Centrica. As a start-up it can be hard to reach customers, especially in the elderly care segment, but Centrica is allowing us to make that final step. Together we can leverage our respective strengths and develop a service that improves the quality of life for the elderly and their families.”[4]

Other finalists competing for the prize were:

  • Alcove (London, UK) – an IoT digital care service combining wearables, an in-home communication device, behaviour monitoring and analytics, home automation & emergency response;
  • Birdie Care (London, UK) – the world’s first holistic digital companion to care for older adults through an app, connected home devices and a network of vetted care service delivery partners;
  • Hello Daisy (London, UK) – helps bring the joy of connecting everyone by helping the digitally excluded become included by internet enabling their TV;
  • Inirv (San Francisco, USA) – produces a smart IoT knob for cookers that can modulate burner temperature. An app also allows for automatic temperature regulation and can turn off the cooker in an emergency;
  • Kalgera (London, UK) – an innovative digital platform that supports carers of older people in the day-to-day management of their loved one’s finances;
  • Keymitt (Luxembourg City, Luxembourg) – a smart-lock retrofitting device that allows users to control access through a door via their smartphone;
  • TrustonTap (Oxford, UK) – developers of a disruptive marketplace platform to connect older people, and their families, directly with self-employed care workers.[5]

Sources

[1] https://www.centrica.com/centrica-innovations

[2] https://www.centrica.com/news/centrica-innovations-chooses-three-start-ups-share-ps100k-active-ageing-challenge-prize

[3] https://www.centrica.com/news/centrica-innovations-chooses-three-start-ups-share-ps100k-active-ageing-challenge-prize

[4] https://www.centrica.com/news/centrica-innovations-chooses-three-start-ups-share-ps100k-active-ageing-challenge-prize

[5] https://www.centrica.com/news/helping-people-thrive-older-age


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