Since its launch in 2005, Center City-based Medical Guardian has been on a journey of using hardware and tech services to serve older adults.
We first learned about the company’s medical alert products in 2018, when the company launched its smartwatch called Freedom Guardian. It featured a two-way communication system for emergency response, as well as local weather forecasts and reminders for daily tasks like taking pills.
Now, about four years later, the company announced the release of the next iteration of its signature watch: the MGMove, a smartwatch designed for seniors who live independently and have active lives. The device offers monitoring and medical alert functionality, activity-tracking options, social circle apps and functions related to mental and physical well-being.
Eliza Salerno, the company’s VP of operations and product, said this version of the device was driven by a ton of data. The product team narrowed down the core features to include a clear way to get help if needed, activity planning and tracking modules and the social circle — a chat function to use with friends or loved ones.
“All we do all day is interact with the senior community, and we had marketing feedback, but we try to be working less off of assumptions and more on data,” she said.
It was also important that the device look like any other wearable smartwatch. Most users become customers in their late 70s and have maintained a lot of independence to that point, Salerno said. While a health scare like a fall will usually trigger their signing up for MGMove’s service, customers want to feel like they have as much freedom and autonomy as ever.
The watch, which costs $199.95 alongside a $39.95-per-month subscription, gives people the ability to continue living their lives the way they’re used to — but with some built-in security and connectivity.
The rollout of the new device comes about a year after the Philly company closed a $100 million growth capital raise last year by Water Street Healthcare Partners. The investment was a step toward the company’s plans to further grow in the healthcare ecosystem. CEO Geoff Gross told Technical.ly that the company strategically went with Water Street to gain the organization’s healthcare industry knowledge.
“We’ve spent 10 years on our product, and now the service expansion is the future of the company,” Gross said.
The funds from the early-2021 round are dedicated to expanding the company’s organic growth and future acquisitions. In October 2021, it purchased MedScope America Corporation, bringing its staff to about 310 team members. The acquisition was conducted with the aim of furthering the company’s growth as a top provider of personal emergency response systems. Together, the combined companies provide a suite of connected care solutions to a subscriber base of nearly 300,000 seniors.
Gross said that Medical Guardian is also exploring plans to beef up its healthcare industry offerings by either acquiring a similarly oriented healthcare platform company or making tech acquisitions.
“We went through pretty considerable product and brand evolution that kicked off five years ago with new messaging campaigns and brand pillars, and that has resonated on a deeper level with our customers,” Gross said. “We’re now differentiating our offering by tracking down and creating the top products and services out there.”
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