Penn Center for Innovation

I-Corps Blog: TogetherCare

Posted on July 17, 2015 — Kat Hinkel

Week 1

Team TogetherCare is committed to providing an improved method for geriatric financial management by protecting against elder financial abuse. Our team currently has three members: Dr. Nalaka Gooneratne (Academic Lead), Akhil Chakravarti (Entrepreneurial Lead), and Shawn Srolovitz. Currently, elder financial fraud accounts for over $1.5 billion in annual losses, with more than half of perpetrators being either friends or family of the victim. Our platform seeks to address this problem by providing transparency in financial records amongst caregivers, mitigating risk of fraud and helping elder adults successfully age in place. As we begin to tailor our solution to consumer needs and preferences, we started conducting customer development interviews this week.  Our interviewee list included two elder adults we spoke two at a geriatric clinic, a social worker at the geriatric clinic, and another elder adult. These conversations provided us with valuable insight into preferences this population has regarding sharing financial data in addition to the problems these people face from the social worker’s perspective.

Week 2

This week our team had a different experience with interviews, as logistics prevented team members from interviewing people together. However, we were able to interview a diverse set of candidates, providing us with insights that we did not have a week ago. We continued interviewing our target customer, elder adults and their children. This week we interviewed two elder adults and one son who is also a physician at Penn. Our findings revealed a willingness amongst caregivers and patients to share financial data for the purpose of preventing financial fraud. Moreover, we interviewed financial professionals this week who have experience handling instances of elder financial abuse. Our interview with a representative from Vanguard revealed that the company has training courses on fraud and that many problems stem from impersonation. Moreover, we learned about some of the mechanisms of dealing with fraud at American Express. We look forward to continuing our customer interviews and learn more in the coming week.

Week 3

This week we continued our customer development interviews, focusing our efforts on retooling the way we conduct these to optimize how much we learn from each interview. This began with incorporating more structure interviews, allowing us to derivative quantitative data in addition to qualitative data from the interviews. As an example, we are now asking the question: how concerned are you about financial fraud (1-5)? By aggregating this data, we can test hypotheses related to the potential concerns and risks we have of the market. So far we have begun collecting this information from five customers, and we plan to continue aggregating this data to form a more concrete image of our target market. Moreover, this data, in addition to the qualitative information we have been gathering, will help us as we work towards moving forward into product development.

Week 4

This week we continued our customer development interviews, incorporating the new methodology we blogged about last week in an effort to gain more quantitative data from our potential customers. We interviewed a neurologist, physical therapist, and then three other elder adults as we continued this process. Moreover, we began discussions on some of our plans for how to move forward after the initial 6-weeks of I-Corps have finished, so we have begun discussing grants and development of our prototype, in addition to continuing movement forward with our IP. We look forward to continue conducting interviews and making progress with all of this in the coming week.

Week 5

This week, we started by aggregating several of our findings from the past 5 weeks, continuing to find connections from our qualitative data and beginning to put together results from the quantitative efforts that we have recently begun as well. Moreover, we got to work on preparing our work plan and budget as we move forward. In doing so, we put a lot of thought into how we plan to spend the next 8 weeks with I-Corps and beyond. To start, we discussed components that will go into our MVP so we can prepare that for interviews, discussed more places to go to continue our customer development, and thought about integrating existing feedback into our plans.

Week 6

This week we’ve been focusing a lot of our efforts on the MVP. Our goal is to use this as a means to gain iterative feedback from an elder adult, in addition to a couple of caregivers. Moreover, we’ve continued to iron out future plans by attending the SBDC’s first clinic for us. We’re excited to get our MVP up to a point where we can roll this out in the next week as we continue our interviews, and this is still a work in progress for our team.

Category: i-corps, i-corps-team-posts