Innovative solutions receive seed funding
Top teams tackle legacy planning, dental care and retirement planning.
When a loved one passes away, most family members are unprepared for it. They experience a range of emotions including distress, grief and worry about how to handle issues such as legal affairs, insurance claims and other post-death administration. A social enterprise called Timeliss empowers people to prepare themselves for end-of-life matters and provides information on what to do, with templates and checklists for those who wish to take action. It also provides links to relevant professional services.
Timeliss was one of top three teams recently selected from Modern Aging Singapore’s comprehensive business development programme by ACCESS Health International and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), and was awarded S$50,000 in seed funding.
“Many people prefer not to discuss death, especially in Asia. This has led to some families being woefully unprepared for the end. For example, in Singapore, there are some 20,000 unclaimed life insurance policies, where the beneficiaries did not receive the money. Timeliss helps people to plan for their life, future and legacy,” said Gerald Tan, co-founder Timeliss.
The other two teams – ĀN and Eden – each received S$25,000 in seed funding. As a nation of homeowners, much of Singaporean retirees’ wealth are locked up in illiquid assets such as housing and CPF, leaving them with limited cash savings for retirement. ĀN is well-suited for retiree private property homeowners, who are after an equitable solution that provides them the peace of mind of a guaranteed monthly payout for life to supplement their retirement savings.
ĀN is able to achieve this via its unique property monetisation model, where retirees can authorise institutional investors to purchase a portion of their home equity. The homeowners retain the right to live in the comfort of their own homes for life, continuing to gain from potential capital appreciation of the remaining portion and have the option of leaving behind their stake in the property for next-of-kin as part of their estate.
“ĀN helps retiree homeowners who live in private properties to monetise a portion of their home equity to live better in retirement. We are currently working with industry leaders from Singapore’s property, asset-management, research and regulatory communities to refine the product, and aim to launch this service by end-2019,” said Jonathan Teoh, founder of ĀN.
On the other hand, Eden looks at the dental care. It shared that nearly 80 percent of seniors above 65 years are missing teeth. And while dentures are the proven solution, discomfort means that many seniors forego this option, resulting in a reduced quality of life. Comfortable dentures require taking an accurate dental impression, which is the imprint of the hard and soft tissue within the mouth that forms the cast for making the dentures. Currently, this is done by the user biting into impression material that is placed within a standard tray. If the impression is not precise, a bad fit can lead to uncomfortable dentures.
Eden is developing an automated tray system called the Easy Tray that is customised to the user’s jaw and mouth structure to produce accurate dental impressions. Eden has applied for several patents for the Easy Tray, which leverages advanced optics, 3D design and 3D printing technologies.
“The seed funding from Modern Aging will be used to develop the Easy Tray prototype and prove our concept works. We will launch Easy Tray by mid-2019, targeting first the senior activity centres in Singapore, then local public and private healthcare clinics, before scaling to international markets, in particular the US,” said Peter Peng, who is the leader of team Eden.
Modern Aging Singapore is a business accelerator programme that identifies, develops and scales start-up companies that serve the needs of ageing populations and their caregivers. Fifty teams applied for Modern Aging Singapore this year, with eight teams being selected to go through its comprehensive business development programme.