NIA Small Business Showcase: Rendever, Inc.
The founding team of Rendever, Inc., identified social isolation as the most important problem to tackle within the aging demographic. The daunting statistics speak for themselves: More than 40% of seniors are reported to experience isolation and loneliness, leading to a myriad of comorbidities ranging from greater risk of stroke and heart attack to earlier onset and faster progression of cognitive decline. Research has shown that social isolation is as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day is. Multiple studies have linked prolonged loneliness to an average 30% increase in mortality rates within this population.
The Rendever platform is an all-inclusive destination for social-experiential programming. Through the power of virtual reality (VR), participants in group sessions can check off bucket list items together, revisit meaningful places, share stories, stay engaged with family members, and more. Everything is made possible through Rendever’s proprietary networking capabilities, enabling true social experiences that cross physical barriers. Family members and other users can share the experience even from a distance. With custom reminiscence therapy tools, a family portal allowing individualized 360° content creation, an immersive meditation platform, interactive games targeted for intergenerational programming, and more, Rendever is leading the industry in VR for seniors.
The senior care industry comprises approximately 30,000 senior living communities, 15,000 home care agencies, and 15,000 registered long-term care facilities. Within this industry, Rendever’s primary customer is the senior living community. There is a secondary market in health care, which the company has successfully started to commercialize with a system rollout with UCHealth. Today, Rendever is being used in more than 250 locations with high-profile senior living operators, including Revera, which operates more than 500 communities across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as health care systems. The company is also at the forefront of VR research, leading projects funded by NIH and NIA, and has commercial partnerships with major organizations such as AARP and Verizon. Through Rendever’s extensive network of clients and industry partners, with a team that has successfully engaged this industry through a variety of experiences, and with a platform that has already had significant and ongoing commercial success (even in the midst of a global pandemic), the opportunity to evolve the company’s platform and bring family members into the commercial arm of the company’s product is going to pave the way toward massive impact at a time when this growing demographic and this industry need it most.
Rendever boils its success in product evolution and storytelling down to the five key factors that differentiate the company’s product from the rest:
- Seniors First. Rendever’s founders were inspired by personal experiences to overcome the epidemic of social isolation. They discovered that positive social experiences with VR could be a solution. Everything Rendever has built is specific to seniors and senior living staff.
- Diverse Content. Rendever has the largest, most diverse library of content and experiences across the entire industry, with new updates being released twice a month. The company offers more than videos, with a search function that opens up interactive games and apps, a family engagement platform, and more.
- Simplicity. High tech doesn’t need to mean high complexity. Someone who can can navigate a smartphone can run a Rendever session, and Rendever’s community engagement team is always available to help if needed.
- Favorable Pricing. The company wants every senior to have access to its products, so Rendever’s pricing structure is as reasonable and favorable as possible. If more than two headsets are used, the total cost beats all other vendors in the space. Additionally, Rendever’s up-front cost can be written off as a depreciating capital expense.
- A Proven Track Record. Representing more than 250 communities, Rendever’s customers are the company’s biggest fans. Rendever has a 96% retention rate and frequently benefits from referrals by current customers.
- June 2016: Incorporation of Rendever, Inc.
- December 2017: First enterprise client began using Rendever
- January 2017: Accepted into the first cohort of PULSE@MassChallenge (now known as MassChallenge HealthTech)
- February 2017: Won the grand prize from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize
- March 2017: Won second place in the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge
- June 2017: Won the Gold Award from the inaugural PULSE@MassChallenge finale
- December 2018: Signed first lease for dedicated office space
- July 2019: Outgrew the company’s original office space and signed Rendever’s second lease for dedicated office space
- December 2019: Rendever users cumulatively spent more than 1 year in VR
- March 2020: $1 million annual recurring revenue milestone surpassed
To date, Rendever has raised $20,000 convertible note from Dorm Room Fund as first-round capital. Rendever’s funds raised to date include a $75,000 warrant from AARP. Currently, Rendever is trying to raise $3 million to $5 million by the close of the second quarter (Q2) of 2021.
Following in-depth analysis of the patent landscape and conversations with advisors and thought leaders, Rendever focused primarily on market entry and acquisition. Ultimately, patents on implementation design do not offer the level of protection that patents strictly focused on a piece of knowledge, discovery, or software construct do. That being said, Rendever’s platform is actively evolving to meet the growing needs of the senior living industry, and this research is pushing the company toward new technological advancements that are worthy of intellectual protection. Rendever’s most important product differentiation is the advanced approach to networking technology that enables its group shared experiences across physical distances.
Product Development and Regulatory Strategy
Since the Rendever resident engagement platform is structured according to the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, Rendever has made the strategic decision not to create its own hardware or devote resources to custom manufacturing. Rendever’s team has worked with every hardware provider in the virtual reality ecosystem since 2015 and has strong relationships with the key hardware players in the space. As such, the company’s production plan relies on maintaining strong relationships with the preferred vendors so that Rendever continues to gain access to hardware early in the process, and Rendever is consistently able to provide best-in-class VR hardware to its customers. The company has used this strategy to build and secure a strong commercial relationship with Pico Interactive, Inc., a best-in-class, innovative provider of VR hardware. An NIH-funded study will widen the commercialization opportunity by providing empirical evidence — and therefore greater trust — that Rendever’s holistic approach to social engagement and building thriving communities is effective. The study will show that this holds true with residents with varying levels of cognitive and physical challenges and that VR can be used remotely by family members, who are almost always the ultimate decision makers regarding residential and care matters.
There is a massive opportunity for commercialization because of the low cost of training staff, ease of use, and need for senior living communities to reduce residents’ isolation and loneliness while meeting family members’ needs. Today, Rendever’s recurring revenue is more than $100,000 per month and climbing steadily; the company’s 2020 subscription sale numbers outperformed those in 2019 by 170% (despite a global pandemic). Importantly, Rendever’s team infrastructure has been built with the goal of supporting clients first and foremost. Rendever’s retention rate across the past four years has remained at 96%.
Industry: Digital Health and Sensing Technologies
- Chief Executive Officer: Kyle Rand
- Chief Technology Officer: Thomas Neumann
- Director of Business Development: Nicholas Abruzzo
- Director of Marketing and Partnerships: Grace Andruszkiewicz
- Director of Community Engagement: David Stroller, M.B.A.
Point of Contact:
Email Kyle Rand
Showcase selected for: Longevity Innovations and Neurodegeneration Company Showcase (LINCS), February 2021