2nd runner-up: Kompaï

The Challenge

With the elderly population expected to double by 2030, and the number of women aged 23-44 (average age of caregivers) only increasing by 7% (OECD countries), the pressure on an ageing caregiver workforce will continue to increase exponentially. The US alone already needs 200'000 new caregivers every year – more, in fact than the number of required teachers.

Lack of personnel and work overload generate stress, high turnover and absenteeism rates among the caregiver workforce. Apart from the inherent moral fatigue from dealing with dependent people, this contributes to high physical injury rates (falls, lower back pains, and repetitive strain injury), increasing healthcare costs and diminishing the quality of care.

The Solution

To relieve pressure on caregivers and generate more available time for value-added activities, Kompaï has developed an assistive robot for frail / dependent people living at home or in an institution. It can navigate and interact independently, or be remote controlled. The robot is conceived as a platform to provide and receive information, combined with a smart walking frame that can provide physical assistance to users (eg to get out of bed, sit down, walk). Kompaï is the only robot worldwide that can also be used as physical support (rather than grab objects, which many robots do). This is the most valued feature among professional caregivers. Other specific functionalities include: speaking and understanding basic questions and orders, sending SOS signals (including an emergency button), providing medical and non-medical information, entertainment and connectivity. The team has gathered extensive insights and positive feedback on user acceptance through various pilots Kompaï has set up with a wide range of partners. They are now examining which 5-10 scenarios and functionalities are the most promising for commercialization, and will improve the robot further accordingly before deploying on a larger scale in medical institutions and homes.

Business model and commercial strategy

Kompaï robotics proposes four distinct offerings, each generating its own revenue stream: a) selling robots, b) conducting custom engineering, c) offering support and training the organizations that deploy the robots (eg software updates, caregiver training and other technical support), and d) developing a business model around becoming a privileged channel for the collection of patient data. Kompaï targets clients that are integrators (ie companies setting up the equipment and IT for medical institutions), tele-health companies, insurers and health platforms. The end vision is that companies licensed to install medical equipment in homes or assisted living facilities will buy, install and operate the robots. The users will not pay for the service but for an insurance package, that partly covers the related costs.