Connected health and safety business for seniors, GreatCall, finds exit door in private equity deal

By By Stephanie Baum |  June 7, 2017  |  This article originally appeared in MedCity News

GreatCall, a San Diego company that developed connected health and safety devices to help seniors age in place, has been snapped up by private equity firm GTCR.

Although the transaction amount was not disclosed, GTCR will partner with GreatCall CEO David Inns and the GreatCall management team to continue to build on what company has produced in the past 11 years to grow and develop the company’s technology and services, according to a news release. GTCR plans to commit additional equity capital to fund more acquisitions and growth initiatives. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

GTCR Managing Director David Donnini commented in the news release that technology enabling seniors to live independently at home for longer both significantly improves their quality of life and reduces the cost to care for them.”

For his part, Inns said in the statement that he was “excited” to partner with the firm, saying, “we believe they will be a valuable resource in the long-term expansion of our business”. The company has more than 800,000 subscribers in the U.S.

Donnini told Security Systems News  that GTCR considers the personal emergency response services sector an interesting area for investment.

“I think the thing that leapt out to us about GreatCall is efficiency, some of the best performance metrics and return on investment—as well as growth—in the industry,” Donnini said in an interview with SSN.

GreatCall which developed its own devices such as “Jitterbug” smartphones, has been busy making acquisitions of its own in the past two years to add more functionality to its products. Its devices can trigger emergency help and aid family caregivers tracking their loves ones’ health.

In 2015, its acquisition of Lively helped GreatCall bolster its home monitoring products. Lively combines wireless sensors for homes, a data-collection hub and a device akin to a smartwatch with a personal emergency response system. Referred to as the “safety watch,” it has medication reminders and a step counter.

More recently, GreatCall acquired home monitoring startup Healthsense. The business strategically places wireless sensors around living spaces to monitor patients at home and in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and uses algorithms to assess the data those sensors collect to predict high cost health episodes for seniors.

Inns was included in an eBook on healthcare innovators for the aging population published by MedCity earlier this year. In it, he noted that his parents inspired him to work with the aging population.

“I lost my father when he was 87 after a protracted battle with cancer, and my 90-year-old mother lives over 3,000 miles away and still drives. I want to make a difference in both the lives of older adults and the family caregivers that support them.”

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