Longevity Network
  • Mar 15, 2017
  • Entrepreneur Spotlight

Entrepreneur of the Week: Isaac Lien, grandPad

Entrepreneur of the Week: Isaac Lien, grandPad

grandPad is an all-in-one hardware, software and data connectivity solution to connect seniors with others and reduce social isolation.

We talked with Isaac Lien, Co-founder and Head of Product about grandPad and the opportunity they see in the 50+ market.

Longevity Network: What does grandPad do?

Isaac Lien: grandPad is a safe, simple, and delightful way for older adults to connect with their friends, families, and caregivers. We do this through a tablet and service that includes the hardware, LTE data connectivity, custom built apps and games, and world class customer support, all for a simple monthly membership.

LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works?

IL: We think of grandPad less as a product and more of an experience. From the moment the user opens the box, to the moment they make their first video call, we try to pay attention to all pain points that exist with standard technology.

Part of the grandPad service is the grandPad senior tablet. This is what the older adult uses. Typically they get a grandPad as a gift from a family member or friend. Friends and family can stay connected with the grandPad via our free mobile and web apps.

LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with the creation of grandPad?

IL: My father and I started this company for my grandma, and the millions like her who have been left behind by technology. Now with grandPad, my grandma doesn’t have to enter wifi passwords before doing a video call; she’s always connected with the included LTE coverage. She doesn’t have to fumble to charge the device with a tiny cable – we have wireless charging included. Most importantly, she’s able to connect with her family across the county. Her friends and family all have access to a free mobile app that lets them share photos, and make video calls. Even though she lives in a small town in Iowa, her family can stay connected with her form anywhere in the world.

LN: Who are your users?

IL: The people who use the grandPad tablet are typically over the age of 75 and are frustrated with the current technology options.

Additionally, friends and family members of the grandPad users can connect with the grandPad via our free iOS, Android, and Web apps.

LN: How will grandPad help benefit the 50+ population?

IL: Our missions is to help connect older adults with the friends, family and caregivers. With our grandPad service, we’re able to do just that.

LN: How did you assemble your team?

IL: The first question we ask everyone we interview is “Tell us about someone over 75 who is important in your life.” This helps us find people who are truly passionate about our company’s mission.

LN: How has what happened with grandPad differed from what you envisioned would happen?

IL: We’ve recently announced that we’ve custom built a new grandPad tablet in partnership with Acer. When we started grandPad, we didn’t initially intend to build our own custom hardware. However, we’ve learned that standard tablets are not well suited for the needs of our users.

LN: What do you wish you had known before developing grandPad?

IL: When we started grandPad, we didn’t fully realize that social isolation and loneliness are such a large issues among aging people. grandPad was created as a way to connect with my grandma, however we’ve since learned that there are millions of seniors around the world who are socially disconnected. Loneliness and social isolation also have a tremendously negative health impact on seniors.

As we’ve learned more about this issue, we’ve refined the focus of grandPad to help eliminate the world-wide epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.

LN: What most excites you about the aging/health technology market?

IL: There are about 30 million people in the U.S. alone who are 75+ in age. Many of them now live alone and because they never really grew up with technology, are constantly let down by the current options. It’s a huge segment within the U.S. that many companies are not paying attention to, and one that continues to grow. We are excited about this potential and will continue to work at being one of the leading companies in the aging tech space.

LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the aging/ tech market?

IL: Focus on creating a delightful user experience for the senior. Many products in the senior space are not designed with the senior in mind. They are focused on the needs of the caregiver or healthcare provider. This is why many products in this space have failed before. grandPad is different because we are laser focused on providing a delightful experience for the grandPad user.

LN: Where do you see grandPad five years from now?

IL: In five years, our goal is to make grandPad a household name and get it in the hands of millions of seniors in the U.S. and around the world.

LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?

IL: A Fountain of Youth machine would be ideal.

If not, I think we are still going to see several exciting developments in this space. Data analytics in particular will be interesting. Between now and when we retire, we are going to be generating so much data about ourselves; what we eat, how much we walk, how well we sleep, etc. It would be great to see all of this information consolidated and used in a way to help us take proactive measures to stay positive and healthy.

LN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

IL: I would like to share one of our favorite quotes from one of our members:

“I’m 91 years old, and I’m incapacitated. I never thought I wanted anything like the grandPad. But you know what? Now it’s the only treasure I have.”

Quotes like this remind us of the real problem that is social isolation, and our important mission to improve the lives of millions of seniors by reconnecting them with their family, friends, and caregivers.

Isaac has devoted his life to creating software. Meanwhile, Isaac’s grandmother has never owned a computer, and lines of communication he uses every day, such as email and Facebook, are completely foreign to her. Attempting to find a way to bring his grandmother up to date using current technology proved to be an imperfect solution, and resulted in more tech support than quality time. Through grandPad, Isaac is bridging this gap and creating an easy way to keep older generations up to date with their younger family members. 

To learn more about grandPad, visit their website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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