Rising StarRising Star: David Edwards Gives the Elderly Their Dignity and Their Children Peace of Mind

Your aging mother is obstinately against a nursing home, but you worry about her living alone. You’ve considered moving her into your own home, but you’ve already got your hands full. What to do?

People in the so-called “Sandwich Generation” are confronting this troublesome scenario every day—and in their search for clear, affordable solutions, they are coming up empty-handed. Well, until now.

MotioSens, a finalist in OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2015 Investment Program, utilizes discreet motion sensors plugged into wall-outlets that transmit wireless data between one other, creating an invisible passive sensing network. That means the system can detect emergency events and changes in your mother’s health trends, without forcing her to wear a device or tag.

CEO David Edwards tells us more:

David Edwards, founder of MotioSens, offers advice to budding entrepreneurs.

The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: The concept evolved from grant funded research by the two founders, Peter Jacobs and Eric Wan, professors at OHSU and PSU respectively.

The problem it solves:We solve the problem of the lack of technology solutions in the market to enable seniors to live alone.

How you came up with the name: The product uses sensors to unobtrusively detect seniors moving throughout their home.  The name was derived from two words, “motion sensors”.

How you differentiate from your competition:Rather than a reactive approach, such as, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up, ” we offer proactive solutions that monitor daily activities of seniors living alone.

How you make money: By monthly subscriptions paid by the children and caregivers of seniors.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur: You can make a difference quickly in people’s lives.

The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: The overwhelming kindness of the American people who found themselves working for a Brit (me) at a previous company!

Your biggest success: Business wise, starting a company from the ashes of an old business and taking it public. From a personal perspective, raising four kids in a new country.

A notable failure: My first entrepreneurial venture which was going well until I decided to make an offer to buy one of my local competitors.  Due to an entirely different culture in the acquired company, it was a disaster from day one. I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.

What keeps you up at night: Cashflow, or lack thereof.

The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: Always remember who pays the bills. That advice is from my former boss at a company I worked for many years ago in the UK. He had tired of being a coal miner and started what became the largest business forms company in the UK.

The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: The Lean Start-up.

The song that best describes your entrepreneurial journey: Moving a young family to a new country in the early 90’s was a tough decision.  At the time, Tom Petty had just released “Into the Great Wide Open” and being a Petty fan, I played this album in our Plymouth Voyager van when we first arrived. It became synonymous with both my personal and entrepreneurial journeys.

What wild success looks like: It looks like a business that is genuinely helping seniors living independently, and will lead to further medical breakthroughs through the use of smart technology.

Your favorite local business and why: Watching so many micro-breweries start and compete with the likes of Budweiser etc. is just very cool.  Of course, the local breweries make an exceptional product and customers are delighted by it, driving competition and more choice.  My favorite local place to enjoy a beer was always Portland Brewing in the “old days” and I still go back for a pint of Macs once in a while!

What you wanted to be as a child when you grew up: A dentist!

Benefits of starting a business in Oregon:  Unlike 20 years ago, Oregon is now a great place to start a business!  The ecosystem here has been very helpful in connecting us to the investor community, and working out of the PSBA is an added bonus.


Will MotioSens win the Big Check at OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2015 Showcase? Reserve your seat to find out

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