Lively Raises $4.8M, Launches Sensor Network For Older Folks

“Help the aged,” sang the bard, and that’s what Lively aims to do. After all, one time they were just like you, drinking smoking cigs, and sniffing glue. This $150 device, on the other hand, ensures that they’re up and about and staying active while you’re away, giving you a bit of peace of mind while the older folks are at home.

The system consists of a sensor array that communicates with a wirelessly connected base station. When various items are moved around the house – keys, a medicine cabinet, the refrigerator door – the sensors report back and then the app shows you just what they are up to. Are they eating? Taking their meds? Driving to the liquor store? You’ll know about it.

Founded by former adBrite CEO Iggy Fanlo, Keith Dutton, and David Glickman, the company closed a $2.5 million seed round in 2012 and just announced a $4.8M series A led by Cambia Health Solutions and Maveron. They just launched their product which includes the dongle and two months of free service. They took part in a failed Kickstarter in April.

The team prides itself on a sort of minimalist monitoring that will help older folks maintain dignity and privacy. “This is not ‘big brother’ monitoring. Lively’s passive sensing tracks just enough information to interpret meaningful activity that shows how you’re doing without sharing too much. It doesn’t require any video cameras or anything that you have to wear,” said Fanlo.

“Creates new avenues of connection: Lively provides a better way for older adults to share how they’re doing with a connected device that uses passive activity sensors you apply to moveable objects around the home.”

Fanlo created the company after going through a divorce and missing his extended family. As a result, he thought he wanted to find a solution to loneliness and looked first to the aging community. “It was a difficult and in many ways a dark time for me. I was looking at health & wellness. I sought out two things in my preliminary search: the intersection of large and growing market AND an area generally ignored by entrepreneurs. Within health & wellness, aging jumped off the page. That was all good and well, but how is that inspiring even for me. Well, as I visited several facilities and spoke to many people the social side of aging, the isolation, the potential loneliness struck a chord. I had felt that very strongly only a few years before and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel… For many of those over 70, 80 years of age, there might not be another good opportunity to really stay connected. I had my inspiration.”

Interestingly, the service offers LivelyGrams, printed photo booklets created by friends and family and mailed monthly to the Lively user. In this way you get sort of a two way street – data comes out of the home while notes, pictures, and comments come in. Sadly, Lively doesn’t really have an emergency notification system in case someone has fallen and can’t get up nor is it particularly useful if a loved one wanders off – without a GPS tracking system, it’s useless in that case. However, it does help note movements and activities around the house specifically which could make it valuable if you want to make sure mom is taking her vitamins and dad isn’t watching too much TV.