Interview with Kian Saneii, CEO of Independa
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren
In this interview with Kian Saneii, the CEO and founder of Independa, he tells his story about immigrating to the United States from Iran, working at Bell Labs, and eventually managing and running startups. Independa is a platform that runs on the television and enables additional independence for the elderly and infirm. Independa has won a number of awards including the 2015 CES “Technology for a Better World” Global Award Recipient, the 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine 100 Brilliant Company, the Gartner Cool Vendor, the Frost & Sullivan Telehealth Product Line Strategy Award, and the CONNECT Most Innovative Product award.
Independa was started in the premise of developing a holistic system for caring for the elderly and infirm and allowing them to be more independent. Prior to Independa, there was no holistic system, only discrete solutions like telemedicine, life story recording, cognitive tools, and activity & behavior tracking. Independa provides a person-centric platform versus a patient-centric or episodic-centric platform. It is about wellness and health, and helping the person to be more independent and on their own, or stay in their current stage of care.
In the early stages of Independa, they worked with IDEO to validate the Independa idea through what IDEO called “ideation”. IDEO are experts on making products easy to use and accessible to the mass market. Indpenda did the complete coding of the system which includes a cloud-based component, a web interface, a mobile application, and the application that resides on the television set. The Independa platform leverages television and internet technology, and is designed for social engagement. The platform is simple, fun, easy to use, and engaging. Independa is all about thriving, and not about being old and needing help.
Early-on, Independa worked with LG Electronics as a strategic partner and investor. LG is the world leader in commercial televisions for the hospitality and hospital markets. In the US, there are about 5 million beds in the hospitality market, and another 1 million in hospitals. However, there are another 3.6 million in senior living communities, and another 50 million elderly people living in their homes that need some for of regular assistance. Independa, in conjunction with LG Electronics, developed the IndependaTVe for this market.
90+ percent of the elderly in the US prefer to be in their own home as they age. The want to thrive as they age, and feel safe & comfortable. The Independa platform is designed to keep these people away from the next stage of care which is from home to assisted living, from assisted living to nursing homes, and from there to a hospital.
There are three primary components of the Independa platform:
(1) A Social Engagement component for friends, family, and loved ones. Independa transforms the TV into an engagement window. Elements include picture sharing, life stories, video chat, and message sharing. All of this can also be accessed via a web browser or the mobile application. The engagement tool includes the care giving organization, the circle of care in the family or friends network, and the care recipient.
(2) An Organization & Community Engagement component that helps to improve the top line and bottom line of the organization, and provides brand improvements. Some of the tools include dining menus, survey capability, community calendar of events, and broadcast messages.
(3) An Integrated Remote Care component, with threshold-based alerts (e.g., phone calls and texts), to catch little things before they become big, expensive problems. This component helps the care recipient age at their current residence longer, safer and more comfortably.
Kian mentions that “No one who touches the system has to do anything more than they did before (using the system).”
There is a huge and growing market for tools that enhance the lives of the elderly, and Independa sits right in the middle of this.
In addition to the discussion about Independa, Kian gave a number of his insights as a company founder and startup CEO.
I hope you enjoy this interview and find it as interesting and informative as I did. Do you have aging parents or relatives? If so, I definitely recommend checking-out Independa. We love to hear from you about your experience.
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