Written by David Silverberg
Jacob Moshinsky is aware of the statistics that play a key role in his startup: Canadian government figures show that in 2018 the proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over was 17.2 percent, up from 14.4 percent in 2011. And it's estimated the aging population in Canada will only increase in the coming years.
His startup Monkey Jabber, founded in 2017, has been working with health-care providers, personal support workers and distributors to sell the company's watch which acts as both a cellphone and a monitoring device. NurtureWatch is paired with a smartphone to keep elderly folks connected and offer a safety net that allows constant monitoring, without the expense or intrusion of a 24/7 caregiver.
Its features include a gyroscope to detect if the wearer has fallen; geofencing to alert others if the wearer has left a certain area; heart rate monitor; GPS tracker; SOS button for emergencies; an alert system to notify the wearer when to take their medication; and cellular service limited to making three outbound calls. Its battery lasts about 48 hours in standby mode.
With partnerships via Rogers Wireless in Canada and Sierra Wireless in the U.S., NurtureWatch retails for $325 in Canada and $399 in the U.S., which includes a voice and data package.
“The purpose of the watch is to let family and caregivers not worry about the seniors wearing the watch,” says Moshinksy, noting how the device is especially useful for those with aging parents suffering from dementia.
He goes on to say how a grandson, say, can remotely request from the watch the heart rate of his grandparent wearing NurtureWatch. Also, the GPS tracker can let that grandson see exactly where his grandfather is right now.
Monkey Jabber is entering a bustling space: revenues for remote patient monitoring (RPM) solutions reached $26.2 billion in 2018, according to a report from Berg Insight.
Moshinsky pivoted to NurtureWatch after a couple years developing a similar wireless solution, but for parents who want to track their children. This a GPS-enabled walkie-talkie watch has been “temporarily put on hold,” Moshinksy notes. When the company conducted market research for this device, they found out that many parents wanted a device to monitor their aging parents.
He has also waded into telecom waters before, having worked for seven years for Rogers and Telus. “I loved every moment of it. The pace was super fast, extremely competitive and ever-evolving technology-wise. It kept me on my toes all my time.”
But at a certain point, Moshinksy “wanted to develop something unique, something that hasn't been done.”
NurtureWatch has especially gained ground in the U.S., Moshinky says, partnering with Cerna Healthcare, one of the startup's largest American customers, a personal support worker agency with more than 25,000 customers. Cerna added the watch to their monthly service fee as a value-added proposition. “We do sell direct to consumers through our primary website but it's more for marketing and awareness purposes,” he says.
As for what motivates Moshinsky as an entrepreneur, he says, “Nothing is easy. The challenges get bigger and bigger every day, and that's why I thrive. I'm enthusiastic about executing strategies and watching things come together.”
Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real