When his grandmother – who lived alone – died after a fall at home, Kelvin Summoogum decided to dedicate his life to providing proper care for the elderly. He founded MiiCare so that older people could retain their independence, while living a safe, comfortable and more social existence.
The result of extensive period of research was the MiiCube, the startup’s person-centred, AI-based, assistive technology. Today, Summoogum tells Maddyness why he thinks we need to move away from a centralised care system, and talks about an exciting new launch coming in two months.
Give us your elevator pitch (in 280 characters or less).
MiiCare is a healthtech specialised in the area of geriatrics. We built the first AI-based digital health companion in the world with one thing in mind: To keep the elderly safe, healthy, happy and connected to their loved ones.
What is your favourite thing about being a founder?
Waking up every morning knowing my work contributes towards supporting those who sacrificed their past so we can have a better future.
You are currently on the OVHcloud Startup Program, can you tell us about your experience and the support you have received?
Our team have had a lot of support from OVHcloud in setting up a cloud solution. We are also given the opportunity to showcase our solution through OVHcloud’s network of partners.
Can the MiiCube really help fight loneliness?
Absolutely. Her name is ‘Monica’ and she is a true companion to her users and tells the odd jokes from time to time to cheer them up. We spent over two years with a group of older adults to understand their mindset, what matters to them, what do they worry about and how to interact with them in a non-patronising way. Only then we were able to codify all of these key learnings into our AI, ‘Monica’. Loneliness, in my view is the worst torture you can impart to a human being. We all know what solitary confinement does to a human being. What we did was to come up with a solution that would incite conversation while showing empathy, respect and being non-judgemental.
Do you envisage tech and AI for the elderly taking strain off the health and social care sector?
Yes, the centralised model where everybody converges to a point of care is obsolete and doesn’t work. The world needs a different care model clustered around the care receivers and supported by the technology to allow remote monitoring and rapid interventions at the point where care is required. AI and tech will also allow the shift from a reactive to a preventative model.
Which founders or businesses do you see as being the most inspirational?
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva.
What has been your biggest business fail?
To have exited the first business I founded at the age of 13, and to take a scholarship.
What’s in store for the future?
We continue to expand really fast and move from a hardware company to a software company – we will make an announcement in 2 months. Watch this space.
What advice would you give to other founders or future founders?
When things get really tough, remember why you started the company and always focus on the execution.
And finally, a more personal question! We like to ask everyone we interview about their daily routine and the rules they live by. Is it up at 4am for yoga, or something a little more traditional?
I will travel anywhere to talk about MiiCare and how we are changing the way care is provided to the elderly. But I live by one rule, I always make sure I am at home in time to read the bedtime stories to my two kids.