Dedicated mobile service for elderly users, Fuss Free Phones secured seed funding from European impact investment bank ClearlySo to launch far and wide
More than 3.5 million people over 65 live on their own in the UK, of which about a million receive no real support at home.
Fuss Free Phones caters to this often neglected demographic by combining a simple handset with an around-the-clock operator service to help users make calls, send and receive texts, look up information online, and screen inbound calls, while blocking cold calls from unwanted callers.
Launched in 2015, the start-up features a handset with one large button that connects users with a human operator to do pretty much everything a smartphone does, because, as Fuss Free Phone’s tagline goes, “it’s about talking, not technology.”
For the founder of Fuss Free Phones Simon Rockman, digital inclusion for this demographic involves keeping the technology as simple as possible. “Older people with sight and hearing loss or dementia struggle with the UI on iPhone and Android devices and need a straightforward and familiar system to give them the confidence to stay connected to loved ones,” he explained. “We are thrilled to offer people as our ‘killer app’: our goal is to serve the unmet mobile phone needs for older people and those with visual or hearing impairment and other disabilities.”
The seed funding will be used to hire more staff, finance a large-scale product launch, and further develop the technology’s functionality.
“Fuss Free Phones has tapped into a market whose needs are not being met by today’s mobile phone manufacturers and operators whose mainstream products are getting smarter, sleeker and less tactile,” said Tamsin Chislett, investment manager at ClearlySo, who led the seed investment round.