Centrica and HAX Launch £200,000 Startup Challenge to Develop Smart Solutions for the World's Ageing Population

Centrica and HAX Launch £200,000 Startup Challenge to Develop Smart Solutions for the World's Ageing Population

PR Newswire

LONDON, Feb. 26, 2019

Investment fund to drive new technology solutions that support confident, independent living for the over 65s

LONDON, Feb. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Centrica and HAX, the leading US and China-based startup accelerator program, have announced a partnership to find and develop new smart solutions that benefit the growing ageing population.

Global start up investment to develop Centrica's smart tech innovations for older people (PRNewsfoto/Centrica)

The search is on for startups from across the globe who are seeking opportunities to partner with the company's smart home business, Centrica Hive, and secure investment to bring their products and services to a growing connected care market.

Centrica Hive launched its first smart service, Hive Link, in December 2018 with the aim of helping people live independently in their own homes. Developed in partnership with UK charity Carers UK, the award-winning service is powered by an ever-learning Hive designed algorithm that continually interprets data captured by Hive smart home devices to learn a loved one's routine. This information is shown through an intuitive, easy-to-use activity log within the Hive app, allowing caregivers to check in regularly. If the loved one deviates from a usual routine in the morning or at night, or leaves a front door open, the caregiver is quickly sent a notification, allowing for an immediate and appropriate response. Hive Link also features a Sharing Circle that allows other family members and friends to share caring responsibilities and help look out for a loved one.

As the service and its functionality develops, and customers find more ways to benefit from staying connected to loved ones, the successful startups will work to create new products including smart security systems, non-invasive motion tracking technologies, sleep monitoring solutions, at-home health tracking systems and more.

The HAX partnership builds on Centrica's 2018 Active Ageing Challenge and forms the next phase of Hive's ambition to become the leading in-home technology and services company. Experts from across Centrica Hive and the company's innovation arm, Centrica Innovations, will provide customer insight, product development support and commercial expertise to bring the next generation of connected care products to market.  HAX (www.hax.co), the leading Silicon Valley and Shenzhen-based accelerator will invest up to £200k in selected startups in exchange for access to their outstanding mentors, unrivaled networks and office space for up to one year. 

"This partnership presents a world-class opportunity to build on our unique ecosystem of connected home devices and generate the next wave of smart home services to improve the quality of life for people as they age," says Claire Miles, Managing Director - Centrica Hive.

Welcoming the initiative, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

"The Centrica Hive and HAX accelerator will provide a fantastic environment for UK and US businesses to work collaboratively on next generation smart home devices to support the growing ageing population. The partnership highlights the UK's position as a leader in the global connected care market and the expertise British businesses can offer across the globe. Thanks to overseas partnerships like this, the UK will remain at the forefront of designing the future of smart home technology to meet the diverse needs of an ageing society."

Applications are now open to startups worldwide. Applicants are required to have a proof-of concept prototype and be ready to relocate to Shenzhen and San Francisco during the program.

"HAX has invested in over 200 high-tech startups over the past 6 years and we were looking for the right partner to tackle this immense challenge. We want to find the right sensors, service robots, or diagnostic devices that can help people age gracefully," says Kate Whitcomb, HAX.

ABOUT HAX

HAX is a venture capital-based program dedicated to accelerating industry, enterprise, health and consumer startups with a hardware element. It operates across two strategic locations, San Francisco and Shenzhen, and was featured in the hit documentary by WIRED "Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley for Hardware" (3 million YouTube views)

Notable investments from HAX include 'rising unicorns', Makeblock, Yeelink, Particle and Nura. HAX startups have raised funding from top-tier investors such as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures.

HAX is part of SOSV (www.sosv.com), the world's third most active early-stage fund, investing in 150 deep-tech startups per year. With over US$500M in AUM, SOSV operates world-class ecosystem-focused programs including HAX (hardware), IndieBio and RebelBio (life sciences), Chinaccelerator and MOX (Mobile and web for Asia) and FOOD-X (food).

For more information visit www.hax.co

ABOUT CENTRICA PLC

Centrica plc is an international energy and services company. Everything we do is focused on satisfying the changing needs of our customers. We supply energy and services to around 25 million customer accounts mainly in the UK, Ireland and North America.

We are also developing new and innovative products, offers and solutions for customers globally, underpinned by investment in technology. Innovation underpins everything we do, which is why we've invested £100m in Centrica Innovations, a new venture to identify, incubate and accelerate new technologies and innovations that can help provide the right offers, products and services for our customers.

For more information visit www.centrica.com  

ABOUT CENTRICA HIVE  

Hive began back in 2013 with our customers telling us they wanted comfort and convenience and a thermostat they could control that was easy and simple to use. Today, with £500m investment from parent company Centrica plc, the Hive range of connected products has grown its range and geographical market into NA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Italy and most recently France, with more opportunities for global expansion.   

Hive focusses on making everyday life a little easier, freeing people up to spend time doing the things they love. The range of Hive products and services are designed to work together, to offer affordable, easy to use solutions and make a difference in people's lives. The total number of Hive connected home hubs has reached 1m worldwide.  

For more information visit www.hivehome.com

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