‘SKYPE FOR GRANNIES’ PIVOTS TO DIGITALISE ELDERLY CARE

Finnish tech startup Pienipiiri refocuses its business from a ‘Skype for grannies’ app to a provider of digitalised elderly care services. To fund the growth of its new business, the company has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign.

The story of Pienipiiri – Finnish for ‘small circle’ – began in 2010, with a recently widowed grandmother. The founder Matti Kari noticed that even that her granny was in good physical condition, she was almost completely lacking in peer contacts. It was soon discovered that she wasn’t the only one suffering from isolation and loneliness – up to 50% of the elderly receiving home care report feeling lonely in countries across the Europe.

Pienipiiri’s business builds on its original ‘granny-proof’ tablet application. Essentially, the application can be used to make digital services accessible to elderly end users without any previous IT skills. The application is used by a number of health and care organisations, including the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), MainioVire, and the Finnish cities of Vantaa and Kotka.

“We found out that most care organisations are unable to reshape the ways they work,” says MikkoJärvinen, CEO of Pienipiiri. “To overcome this issue, we’ve decided to build our own 100% digital elderly care organisation. We believe to serve thousands of elderly customers by 2020.”

By building the new digital service organisation, Pienipiiri Oy will pivot from software business towards digital elderly care services. The initial market focus will be in Finnish home care, but at later stages the company will expand to other elderly customer needs on new markets.

While the crowdfunding round has been open for public for only a week, Pienipiiri’s equity offering has already raised over 40,000 euros. The target is to raise at least 100,000 euros for sales and marketing to break profitable with the new model.

“I believe we can truly be the change we want to see. At the same time, we can save money from our public health care system and, by means of our digital community, improve the quality of life of the elderly,” says Matti Kari, the founder of the company.

“Digitalisation is coming to all industries, and virtual home care visits are a great example of how digitalisation of elderly care services can both reduce the costs of providing the services as well as making them more accessible by eliminating costly logistics. Pienipiiri is doing in elderly care what we at Invesdor are doing in finance, and we are happy to be able to help,” says MikkoSavolainen, communications manager at Invesdor.

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