Tavis Schriefer knows firsthand the everyday challenges that come with caring for a loved one with dementia.
“My mom loved talking on the phone with friends and family, but was having increasing difficulty with the features and functionality of her smartphone and cordless home phone,” he told Dallas Innovates about his inspiration for founding teleCalm in 2016.
Schriefer’s Plano-based company offers a managed phone service for seniors with cognitive issues allowing them to stay connected and giving caregivers peace of mind.
It entered the local startup scene as part of the May 2016 Tech Wildcatters class. It’s now at Level 4 of the Tech Wildcatter Gauntlet program, and this month became a Capital Factory Accelerator company.
TELECALM HAS RAISED $150K, NEARING $400K MORE
The company raised $150,000 as an initial pre-seed investment which allowed it to develop and launch its service, and now teleCalm is 39 percent toward raising a $400,000 round according to Schriefer, teleCalm CEO and co-founder. He added the company is in discussion with private angels, angel groups, and family offices.
TeleCalm is on a solid growth trajectory with five employees and generating revenue including averaging more than 20 percent month-over-month subscriber growth since last October.
TeleCalm’s product is now available in 11 senior living communities in seven states.
Its team is working directly with its target audience of senior living facilities, senior care companies, and senior resource adviser networks.
TeleCalm’s product, a wireless adapter which allows the company to deliver its service to seniors without requiring an existing internet or phone service, is now available in 11 senior living communities in seven states. Family members of seniors using teleCalm manage the service via a smartphone app.
“I am most proud of our ability to help seniors maintain a safe connection with friends and family, allowing them a valuable way to maintain a feeling of independence,” Schriefer said.
STARTUP USING PARTNER EVENTS TO RAISE BRAND AWARENESS
Part of that growth came from the company’s participation in community outreach events with the Alzheimer’s Association and other groups to raise brand awareness, Schriefer said. It’s currently developing a relationship with a senior living property management company with plans to provide service to 11 of the management company’s communities in Texas and eventually to more than 70 of its communities across the U.S.
“We continually hear so many stories from our customer families about how teleCalm has helped their loved one with repeated and late-night calls and other issues …”
“We continually hear so many stories from our customer families about how teleCalm has helped their loved one with repeated and late-night calls and other issues specifically related to Alzheimer’s and dementia, including how we have saved their loved-ones from thousands of dollars in financial fraud,” Schriefer said.
TeleCalm has been granted one utility patent (US 9,686,392) and is on pace to receive a second patent along with filing for EU patents across 39 countries. It was a finalist in the WeWork Creator Awards in Austin, Aging 2.0 Chicago and Houston Pitch competitions, and The Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit Pink Tank.
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