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AceAge was founded six years ago and their product, Karie, is at the forefront of aging in place technologies and medication adherence.
“I started AceAge because I watched my grandfather go to the hospital over and over again because he wasn’t taking his medication properly,” CEO Spencer Waugh said.
“I initially went and searched to market as a consumer, looking for a solution to help my grandfather. There was nothing that existed that was simple, easy or intuitive for someone in their 80s with early-onset dementia.”
Waugh saw an opportunity to build a solution within the existing pharmacy infrastructure by leveraging pharmacist’s skills to have medication organized by professionals. The medication is organized into individual pouches connected on a strip, which is then inserted into Karie, a home device that notifies and dispenses daily medications at the prescribed time. If Karie’s user does not take their medication at the prescribed time, a caregiver or loved one will then be sent a notification.
With a product that would offer a solution, AceAge joined The Accelerator Program® in November 2016.
As the world deals with the increasing strains of COVID-19, Karie only becomes more relevant. Having caregivers or relatives regularly check in on seniors to ensure they are properly taking their medication does not comply with social distancing measures, and risks exposure. Karie allows for medication to be taken independently, while still notifying loved ones if a dosage has been missed.
“Pre-pandemic, this device was quite important already. In any hospital, up to one in four people were there because they weren’t taking their meds properly. Up to one in four admissions into nursing homes were primarily for assistance with taking meds. The cost of non-adherence is huge. The pandemic has made our device that much more relevant,” Waugh said.
Waugh and his team first connected with Longliv Ventures after the pandemic began. They connected at a virtual investor/start up “speed dating” conference.
Longliv has an investment mandate into aging in place technologies and medication adherence, so the partnership was fitting.
Since all correspondence had been over Zoom and video chat, finding a Canadian investor was key to reducing any risk, since Longliv was unable to visit AceAge’s facility or meet in person. Toronto’s Bloom Burton Investment Group’s involvement was important for providing Longliv with the security and confidence they required.
“Prior to this funding, we were in a position where we could not take on any additional contracts because our team was maxed out,” Waugh said.
“There is no lack of contracts for our device, so this financing is going to allow us to expand our team, increase our capacity and take on additional contracts so we can scale internationally a whole lot faster.”
Right now, Karie is available in Canada and parts of Europe, but Waugh is confident that this newly acquired funding will only increase that distribution.
“In a pandemic environment, and with the partners we have, Karie is a global solution and we are currently helping people take their medication correctly around the world. We now have the ability to help even more people take their medication around the world because [this funding] is going to allow us to make more partnerships and bring more awareness and get more devices into more people’s homes to help them be healthier,” Waugh said.
Waugh expressed gratitude for The Accelerator Program’s ability to cater the offerings to what AceAge needs at any point in time as their business grows.
“The Accelerator Centre, with all the resources they have, cover gaps in your business, give you guidance, tell you what you need to do because … not everybody can do everything,” Waugh said. “They provide the skills and develop the resources to [help companies] be successful.”
For more information about Karie and AceAge, visit https://aceage.com/