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I first started to think about the concept for Grandpal way back in 2017 shortly after my grandmother passed away. I knew there could be a better way to be there for our older loved ones, no matter how busy we are or where we happen to live.
I lived with my granny Tess for many years in Dublin. First when my parents were building a home in the countryside and then again when I started working in the city with a company called Web Summit. It was great! I got to spend a bunch of time with my Granny, keeping her company and being able to help her out around the house.
We had a great bond and to be honest, something I didn't fully appreciate at the time was how important that social connection was to her. Those moments to connect and to socialise over a cup of tea were golden and sometimes, I was the only person she saw all day.
I left and moved to London working with Techstars and then moved to Berlin to open the office there. I left my granny all alone at home, something I felt an immense amount of guilt over, but knowing her, she didn't want me not to go just for her. I did my best to keep in touch, but with a hectic schedule it was easy to simply forget to pick up the phone to call or send a message.
After 4 years of working with Techstars, I decided it was time to follow my pursuit of combatting old age loneliness and to start Grandpal. It has been quite the journey and we are only getting started.
In November 2017, Grandpal won the Startup Weekend competition. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where people come together to work on an ideas and pitch them on the final day.
It was a great way to validate interest in the idea of Grandpal and get some rapid feedback and research done.
Jobs were quit, and Grandpal was launched with a refined focus on nursing homes.
The concept was to support nursing homes and their residents by recruiting local volunteers to make weekly visits in an effort of combating loneliness.
Our Grandpal community grew to almost 100 people making weekly visits for nursing home residents. We received the nicest feedback from everyone involved.
The older people loved a visit, family members felt happy to have someone there when they couldn't be there themselves and the nursing homes we delighted to have this new social activity.
Grandpal is accepted into the Techstars Berlin accelerator program in early 2020 with 9 other great companies to grow and scale.
In the middle of the Techstars program it became obvious that Coronavirus was going to be a big deal and it was going to be threatious to the people Grandpal exists to serve.
We had no other choice than to put an end to the Grandpal visits with residents within Nursing Homes. It was the safe and responsible thing to do. It was time to pivot!
After surveying the hundreds of people we built a quick MVP web app and got it out to a few hundred people.
In June of 2020, we decided rebuild for iOS and Android devices and our first version is now in the app stores.
The app reminds you to keep in touch with your older loved ones and gives you ideas on how you can make them happy. Our value proposition is that within 15 seconds you can send a beautiful interaction that will make them happy.
You can find it and test it out today. Any feedback, please send it to email@example.com
Grandpal's goal is to ensure a better quality of life for our older generations, combatting increasing levels of old-age loneliness and bringing families together as they plan for their loved ones. This and other types of community are important sources of support for those who feel the pressure of balancing their loved ones' happiness and care with a busy everyday life.
Our mission is to help provide this sense of community and guidance towards a more stress-free way of supporting all families through the generations.
Interested in making a real difference in the world? Get in touch!
Drop us an email with the subject line "Working with Grandpal" to firstname.lastname@example.org with an open application and a note on why you think this is the team for you.