Santa Monica — along with the rest of the nation — is trending older and a local startup is using new technology to make aging easier.
Homehero, based in the Downtown office of startup incubator Science Inc., lets seniors and their loved ones find and manage caregivers all from their mobile devices or computers.
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Santa Monicans over the age of 65 grew by 11 percent and, even more substantial, the number of residents between the ages of 55 and 64 grew 48 percent, according to the U.S. Census.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to be an entrepreneur ?
• Mike Townsend: Sure, uh good morning everyone. I wanted to be an entrepreneur after I moved to Singapore, finishing school and being exposed life in south east Asia and seeing all these little sort of micro entrepreneurs . And it was super inspiring but also at the same time realized that they just didn’t have the leverage and connections and sort of mindset in technology so moving back to California, joined an aerospace company and got into some startups and realized that this is sort of tool and leverage point with technology and startups, that you can do a lot more with your effort. So if you apply 50-60 hours a week to doing something or more you can build a lot bigger, more exciting company. And that was like an adrenaline rush addiction. So that got us into it
E:Nice. So tell us about Homehero. What is it?
• M: Homehero is the fastest most affordable way to find senior care. We typically deal with the sons and daughters of our grandparents. People in ages of 80-100 years old and we help them find caregivers. When you live in a house, 80-plus years old, you just have issue you have to deal with. Family is busy with other things and um its often difficult to find someone to come in for a few hours to just see how the grandfather, grandmother is doing. So we have the largest supply of caregivers that then go through our full vetting process online and offline, bring them in, create these video profiles for them so families can see the schedules, they can see references, the background checks. Everything we do is super transparent for families to find people and book them as quick as possible.
E: And so how are you changing the world as far as Homehero goes?
• M: Yea
E: Like in what way is it really changing the world?
• I mean look, I think this is the biggest problem this country is facing and it will face in a growing capacity in the next 10-20 years. I mean the statistics are insane on how many seniors, our population is living longer and the availability of people to help care for them is drastically decreasing right? People are living farther away. My grandparents live in Connecticut, other than Santa Monica. So, I’m not going to be there so someone else is going to have to fill that void. So to a big extent, the distance is where we fill that need.
E: Makes sense. So Why Santa Monica? So why’d you choose here?
• M: Santa Monica’s awesome. I love Santa Monica. It’s a huge population of seniors. Bigger, much bigger. When we were living in San Francisco, This idea I think would have been impossible to get off the ground. We explored it up there. We talked to a bunch of agencies, these brick and motor agencies that deal with the traditional route and realized that you just cant grow a huge business up in San Francisco and help a lot of people. So starting in Southern California just gave us a much bigger supply pool. Santa Monica particular is very open and adopting to technology companies and also gives us a platform to get publicity and start to get more families onboard.
T: So that being said, what do you think of the tech scene here? Like the whole Silicon beach scene?
• M: Yea uh, Silicon beach, I don’t know about the word Silicon beach but the tech scene is great here. I’ve lived down here for two and a half years. Started another software company called ZingCheckout. Santa Monica gave us the platform. I was an early guy at Coloft over on 10th and Santa Monica and that’s where I made so many of my connections. I met Kyle, my cofounder now, and my cofounder in the past. So I think its such a great central location for everyone tech and in startups to kind of just be in a small area.
E: Nice. If you had one thing you could say to aspiring entrepreneurs out there and new entrepreneurs, what piece of advice?
• M: Yea I would say there is no better time than the present. Just do it. There is no piece of information you don’t have. There’s no skill you can’t quickly get. There’s nothing in your way. So just explore. Try to focus on things that aren’t obvious. Try to focus on things that you think you might have to dig a little bit to find the real problems um but just do it.
E: Cool. Thanks