Three Mass. companies on the cutting edge of ‘agetech’

May 6, 2024 | Featured 1, News

This is part of a series about how the aging population in Massachusetts will affect industries from real estate to healthcare to technology.

Andy Miller, senior vice president for innovation at AARP, believes that any tech company that isn’t focused on the market of older Americans is missing a huge financial opportunity. 

The fastest-growing group of Americans in the U.S. are those over 80, Miller said, and there are 12,000 people turning 65 every day in the U.S.

AARP, the nonprofit organization that advocates for Americans age 50 and older, has its own hub for startups called the AgeTech Collaborative. It has defined “agetech” as a new category to include “anything at the intersection of longevity and technology that will help us age better,” Miller said.

Out of the 70 ventures in the AgeTech Collaborative’s portfolio, many can also be categorized as healthtech or fintech — areas where Boston is already a frontrunner.

“Boston’s probably the biggest city with the most startups that we have,” said Miller, who is 53 and lives in Natick. “Right there with New York or San Francisco.”

We recently spoke with three agetech companies based in Massachusetts that are seeking to use tech to improve the life of the elderly.

MedMinder: ‘Like a sentinel’

Older adults are the largest population served by MedMinder, a maker of pill dispensers automating the release of medications. The Norwood-based company that launched in 2017 employs a total of 150 workers, including pharmacy employees, and has raised a total of $75 million.

MedMinder 1

MedMinder is a Norwood-based maker of a smart pill dispenser. It employs a total of 150 workers, including its own pharmacy employees.

John Still

For CEO Troy Hilsenroth, the device fits nicely into one of the biggest macro-trends he’s observed in healthcare: the ability to provide high-quality care in the low-cost environment of older adults’ homes, where they typically feel more comfortable and independent.

MedMinder’s direct sales to consumers account for just 5% of its business, though. The bulk of revenue comes from payers, insurance companies, healthcare systems and providers. To such customers, MedMinder bills itself as a way to efficiently manage large populations of patients.

“The provider wins. Most importantly, the patient wins,” said Hilsenroth, 54.

MedMinder touts its own pharmacy services as its key differentiator from other retail pharmacies. Patients can opt to receive a pre-filled tray of their medications from MedMinder’s pharmacy, located under the same roof as the company’s headquarters.

The tech itself, Hilsenroth said, also generates unique data on patients’ meds consumption. Older adults go to the device up to four days a day, and their loved ones get notifications (whose frequency can be customized) if patients don’t take their meds. 

“With the elderly, this is like a window into their lives,” he said. “It’s like a sentinel; When something starts going wrong, you know about it early.”

Read full article from Boston Business Journal

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