San Diego’s Independa Raises $1.6M for Technology to Help Elderly Stay Independent

9/21/11Follow @bvbigelow

[Corrected 9/21/11, 1:05 pm. See below.] Independa, the San Diego startup developing Web-based services for the elderly, says it has closed on $1.6 million in early stage financing, and investor interest has been strong enough to extend the round to $2.2 million.

[Corrected to show $200,000 loan is in addition to $1.6M investment] Independa CEO Kian Saneii tells me the 2-year-old startup raised the capital from Miramar Venture Partners, based in Orange County’s Corona del Mar, and City Hill Ventures, a new healthcare-focused VC firm founded in San Diego last year by former Halozyme Therapeutics CEO Jonathan Lim. The company also secured an additional $200,000 loan from Silicon Valley Bank.

The company is raising the capital to expand its product development, add to its market-distribution arm, and to introduce new features of its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology through pilot programs, Saneii says.

Independa’s Web-based software is intended to help the elderly maintain their independence by providing regular reminders for medication, appointments, and other needs while also providing friends and relatives a way to check on their loved ones. As we reported previously, the company released its advanced online program in June for beta testing. The system enables Independa’s elderly customers to use Facebook, Skype, calendars, e-mail, and other online social services, with no computer skills required.

The company plans to operate as an integrated software developer providing a suite of related Web-based services, Saneii says. The idea is to provide elderly customers access to social networking tools as well as health and safety services.

For example, Independa does not make sensors itself, but the company has been working with various hardware manufacturers to integrate wireless pill dispensers and wireless sensors for measuring weight, blood sugar, and blood oxygen, Saneii says. With the additional capital, the company plans to expand the capabilities of its system by integrating with more types of wireless health devices, such as a personal emergency response alarm, and blood pressure cuff.

Independa’s CEO says the goal is to integrate its technology in a comprehensive way, so that Independa can provide the broadest offering of wireless health services.

Independa’s system already is being used under several pilot programs, Saneii says. The company plans to sell its Web-based program to retail consumers as well as companies that manage enterprise software services for the elderly, such as assisted living operators and hospice caregivers. Caregivers share access to the system, Saneii says. “Sometimes a family member is the caregiver and sometimes it’s a professional caregiver.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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