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Self Serve Driving Concierge for Seniors without Smartphones

Justin Boogaard - May 23, 2016 11:16 AM

Right before my family's Christmas vacation my grandma asked for Uber's phone number - she was uncomfortable driving at night. I somewhat shamefully had to admit to her that she couldn't use Uber, because she didn't have a smartphone. My grandma responded (somewhat scornfully) with, "you should build that."

She had every right to be scornful. For the last two years she had been sheltering me as I switched from tech idea to tech idea. I was learning tons but at their best these businesses were only eeking out a few thousand dollars. During that time, g-ma and I got really close. She had two rules (1) make your own meals and (2) put the toilet seat down. Once I got the second one, things were great, we both enjoyed getting to learn more about each other's generations.

Learning that her mobility was going to be reduced was hard. It inspired what over Christmas became GoGoGrandparent. I wanted to make something super simple that she could use. After spending so much time living with her, I knew just HOW limited grandma was when it came to technical stuff. What we eventually came up with was a self serve concierge: she calls (855) GOGO-USA and hears "Press 1 to order a car to your home, press 2 to order a car to where we dropped you off last." Doesn't really get simpler than that.

I figured that even if no one else liked it, Grandma would use it. And sure enough, her first ride was to Coco's Diner. She ordered two pancakes with a side of extra crispy bacon for dinner. It was the first time she had left the house after 5pm in two years. After that, my dad asked if we could also do meals and groceries. He mentioned how much better this could be than putting grandma into a home or getting help. Alongside of that, word was spreading, Grandma had told her friends about "the Youber" and people started calling from her bridge club. We were on to something.

Fast forward five months and things have exploded. We've serviced over 700 calls from 111 cities in 20 different states (and two countries)! We're doing meal delivery and grocery delivery now, working with vendors all across the United States.

The dream is to build a network of services that help seniors stay in their home, independently for as long as possible. The service has evolved to include all the major stakeholders of a loved one's life. Now when Grandma takes a ride, my mom gets a text with the driver's name, phone number and where my Grandma gets dropped off. She can customize the menu and groceries my grandma can order, but - importantly - my grandma gets the choice of what meal she'll choose and when she orders. It's a one two punch that gives the family peace of mind and grandma her independence.

My time with my grandma has been critical to shaping who we are and where we're going. Looking back on it now it's tough not to stop and think "wow, this was exactly how it had to come together."
But can't stop now. Now... it's time to GoGo!

Click here to read the original article.

Justin Boogaard is the co-founder and Chief Grandson of GoGoGrandparent. He was inspired to make GoGoGrandparent by his grandmother, Betty. He uses the word 'inspired' loosely - the whole thing was really her idea.

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