Tech company announces 5-state rollout, Apple tie-in, Lyft partnership

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This Cubigo home screen has "cubes" for transportation, dining, maintenance, activities, valet and library.
This Cubigo home screen has "cubes" for transportation, dining, maintenance, activities, valet and library.

Belgium-based start-up Cubigo formally has expanded into the United States, bringing its cloud-based platform to the U.S. senior living industry, becoming a new Apple mobility partner and forming a partnership with Lyft, Cubigo announced Thursday.

“With our new apps built for iPad and iPhone, we see an opportunity to radically streamline processes at independent and assisted living residences, which is a huge relief for staff members,” said Cubigo CEO Geert Houben. “Most importantly, however, Cubigo is easy-to-use technology that gives seniors independence over their daily activities.”

The company is rolling out its technology to five senior living communities in three states — Florida, California and Ohio — where housing is provided for a combined 1,000 residents. Cubigo said it couldn't name the communities yet.

The rollout, however, follows a year-long residency, through Brookdale's Entrepreneur in Residence program, that began in 2016 at Brookdale Redwood City in Redwood City, CA, for Bart Schaerlaekens, who was vice president of business development for Cubigo at the time. Cubigo also pilot-tested the platform at other communities in the state.

In communities where the technology is used, residents can create a Cubigo account, log in on an iPad or iPhone and then order meals, request help from maintenance or view their building's activity calendar and sign-up for events. Residents also can send messages to staff members and read real-time community news.

These capabilities are designed to increase resident engagement and thereby increase resident satisfaction and occupancy rates, Cubigo said.

“I founded Cubigo with the desire to extend seniors' independence for as long as possible, after watching my grandmother spend her final years in a nursing home,” Houben told McKnight's Senior Living. “After her funeral, my parents told me they will do everything possible to avoid that fate for themselves. So in that moment, my quest was clear. I would combine my love of entrepreneurship, technology and healthcare to create a better end-of-life for my parents. And for all baby boomers. And for myself. And thus, Cubigo was born.”

The company said its formal expansion into the United States was made possible with $4.5 million in venture capital funding led by Urbain Vandeurzen, a Belgian investor focused on tech startups, with participation from Transvision.

Becoming an Apple mobility partner means that Cubigo joins a group of app developers who create technology meant to change the way businesses work. Cubigo said its app has been completely redesigned in an effort to capitalize on the simplicity of the iPhone and iPad user experience.

In Cubigo's partnership with Lyft, the ride-hailing program will be integrated into the Cubigo platform so that residents can schedule transportation, such as a trip to a doctor's appointment or grocery store. Family members also can create their own Cubigo accounts and order rides on behalf of their loved ones, even if they live thousands of miles apart.

On the back end, Cubigo said the platform can be integrated with software already being used by staff members.

“As we piloted Cubigo at a senior community in Ohio, the administration decided to focus on the meal delivery system,” Houben said, providing an example. “We started with their nine-step, paper-based process and reduced it to just two digital steps. By introducing technology into these facilities, we simplified a time-consuming task, which will have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and retention.”

Although communities could use the technology exclusively among staff members, Cubigo has designed it to be a “technology bridge” between staff and residents, Houben told McKnight's Senior Living.

“Currently, the communities we work with deploy it with their staff and then roll it out to their residents,” he said. “Here's the value proposition: Each ‘Cube' is linked to a department within the community and the community's vendors.”

For example, the Dining Cube can be connected to point-of-sale systems. “So all a senior has to do is tap the Dining Cube and order a meal, and that order is seamlessly received by the vendor, processed and invoiced to the resident's account,” Houben said.

“We follow the same process for the Transportation Cube, in which we partner with Lyft,” he added.

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