Independa snags $1.6 million to help seniors live independently

Independa‘s service allows family and other caregivers to monitor the well-being of their elderly relatives, and gives the elderly easy access services they need. The company just closed a $1.6 million round of funding from private investors and Southern California venture capital firms Miramar Venture Partners and City Hill Ventures.

At the core of Independa’s system is a customized Android tablet called Angela. Angela gives one-touch access to email, Facebook, video chat and other services, and does not require any particular computer skills. Independa’s Smart Reminders feature allows caregivers to set up automatic promps for care receivers to take their medications, keep medical and social appointments, or record stories about their life so far in the “Life Stories” tool.

In the future, Angela could also act as a hub for data gathered by a variety of health, environment and activity sensors in the home. Health sensors include weighing scales, pulse oximeters (which measure oxygen levels and heartbeat), and blood pressure monitors. Environment and activity monitors track things like air temperature,whether the person has gotten out of bed, or if the front door has been left open. The data gathered by the sensors is uploaded to the Internet over a 3G wireless connection and integrated with Google Health‘s online health records. (Google Health is designed to store and manage all of your health information in one central place.) Family members will be able to ask for an alert when a relative has been in the house all day but the refrigerator hasn’t been opened, or if she hasn’t gotten out of bed four hours after her normal rising time.

There are similar monitoring systems in the marketplace, but a major difference between Independa and its competitors (GE HealthcareHealthsense and WellAware) is that Independa’s offering is aimed at family members rather than health professionals.

Independa provides the entire service: tablet, sensors and text-message or voice alerts for caregivers. Angela costs $499 and subscriptions costs $19.95-$99.95 per month, depending on the number of sensors and the levels of monitoring required. Independa was founded in 2009 in California, is privately funded and has 20 employees.

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