Virtual health and wellness platforms have grown increasingly popular during the pandemic, but a new startup wants to focus this effort solely on seniors. bold, a digital health and wellness service, plans to prevent chronic health problems in older adults through free and personalized exercise programs. Co-founded by Amanda Rees and her partner Hari Arul, Bold received $ 7 million in seed capital this week under the direction of Julie Yoo of Andreessen Horowitz of Silicon Valley.
Rees said in an interview that the idea for Bold came from the time she was taking care of her grandmother and helping her with health problems like falls. “I’ve kept thinking about solutions we could come up with to keep someone healthier longer instead of waiting for them to fall or something else to go awry to intervene,” she said. Rees began Bold to use what she had learned from her own experience in dance and yoga to help her grandmother maintain balance so as to prevent future falls. “My passion was really about the ability to expand the openness and make these solutions more accessible and accessible to the elderly.”
The member experience is pretty simple. On the web-based platform, users enter some brief fitness information describing their goals and current baseline. From this information, Bold creates a personalized program that ranges from a short, sedentary tai chi class once a week to cardio and strength classes that meet several times a week. “The idea is to really meet a member where they are and then use our programming to guide them through the types of exercises that will be of most immediate benefit to them,” Rees said.
Bold’s funding round takes place at a time Concern about rising health care spending for the elderlyand a focus on how to lower these costs for current and future generations. While falls alone are not necessarily complex medical incidents, they can lead to fractures and other serious injuries. Bold’s preventive approach to falls is a more active solution than necklace or bracelet monitors, which send a signal to ambulance services when they detect a fall. By offering virtual programs, they can help vulnerable elderly populations exercise while avoiding potential COVID-19 exposure in gyms.
Research shows that this works. Even Simple, low-intensity exercise can improve balance and strength enough to reduce the occurrence of fallsThis is currently the leading cause of injury and death in older adults.
Fewer injuries would mean less medical care needs, which would save money for hospitals and health insurers alike. Because of this, in addition to its seed capital funding, Bold plans to partner with Medicare Advantage organizations and high-risk providers to provide users with their training programs for free.