Mobile Tech for Elderly Users Is a Huge Startup Opportunity

August 2, 2016 - 2 minutes read

If you’ve ever tried to walk your grandparents through the basics of using an iPad or iPhone, then you know getting elderly users is an uphill battle. Smartphones are simple to those of us who started using them as young people, but the basics of mobile app usage are as mysterious to older users as the mechanics of are to the over–25 crowd.

GoGoGrandparent aims to solve that problem by bringing sharing economy services (think Uber, TaskRabbit) to “dumb” phones. This isn’t just another clever startup, however — it’s a signal of how iPhone app developers and startup founders can tap into a totally new market. All it takes is a little creativity to make these services work for the older generation.

One way startups could innovate on this trend: incorporate landline-friendly or SMS services into an existing app, and advertise that service through snail-mail postcards. (This is how the creators of GoGoGrandparent tested their company concept, and they’ve had great success growing their business this way.) Sure, it’s way more old-school than even email marketing — but, clearly, it could be effective.

Another reason startups should be looking closely at tech services for the elderly: lack of competition. Over 1,000 apps are launched every day, and most of them target the same demographics: young, tech-savvy, middle-class millennials. True, that’s the most profitable demographic for most services in the sharing economy. However, the success of tech startups like redBus that target completely outside-the-box demographics demonstrates the rewards to be had for those who look outside “traditional” tech markets.

As with any startup, Chicago iPhone app developers who can solve a problem will find the most success. Grandparents have plenty of problems that aren’t being solved by tech yet. The opportunity for developers is huge.

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