Silvertree offers a simple, but tough to execute, promise: “Confidence, with style.”
One of the newest entries into the PERS Industry, the company was born under the shadow of the COVID pandemic, and made a huge splash this year with an effective marketing campaign, a trending lifestyle icon, and a promise to provide a new type of wearable device for “today’s older adults.”
(Note: Silvertree’s not calling them seniors).
Recently, we sat down with Silvertree CEO Dan Josebachvili for an PERS Insider exclusive interview where we asked everything from how Silvertree stands out in the market to how they got Martha Stewart to sign on as the spokesperson.
Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the PERS industry?
The inspiration for Silvertree really came from a collection of life experiences. I was a firefighter and first responder when I was younger, which gave me a unique perspective on how local communities rely on emergency service providers and connected platforms. As my career evolved, I’ve become increasingly interested in consumer technology and the role it plays in our lives. Wearable tech, in particular, has been an interesting journey to follow. In many ways, PERS devices were the original wearables—well before Apple, Garmin, and FitBit became staples of the wearable tech industry. During the early days of COVID, as we all wrestled with the ‘new normal’ of being home-bound and isolated from others, the idea for Silvertree was born. I saw an opportunity to design a new type of wearable for today’s older adults—one that meets them where they are in life while taking into account the unique dynamics of the current landscape of emergency response technology.
What was the opportunity you saw in the PERS industry that inspired Silvertree to get into the market?
Historically, there’s been a negative stigma associated with needing personal safety devices. As I learned when I was a first responder, this kept many people from adopting a solution, despite needing one. I realized that there was an opportunity to reinvent the PERS category with new technology and a more modern design, with the intent of bringing more people into the category. On a macro scale, the US industry is valued at $3B and has grown significantly over the past few decades, but still remains stale due to a lack of innovation. As Boomers continue to age into this category and demand more tech-forward and style-forward solutions, I wanted to create a product that puts the agency of care back in the hands of the wearer and meets them where they are in life.
What are your top three priorities for Silvertree?
At Silvertree, our three top priorities are:
1. Inspiring confidence in active adults to have autonomy over their own care through a simple tech solution that fits in with their everyday routine
2. Strengthening the connection between older adults and their loved ones through our technology
3. Ensuring the peace of mind of family members and their older loved ones
What are your products or solutions differentiators versus the PERS market at large?
Our device stands out among competitors on many levels, but one of the most important differentiators is how we think about the role of the caregiver and the way they are always connected to their loved one through the Silvertree app. Users have the ability to build a Care Team of as many loved ones as they want, with the goal of staying connected and informed in case of an emergency. This feature allows caregivers to respond to emergencies and intervene before first responders are contacted, reducing the high emotional and financial cost of emergency services showing up with sirens blaring.
On the device side, longer battery life was another important feature we focused on. Most competitors’ devices that have fall detection, LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS only last about 18 hours, whereas the Silvertree Reach can stay charged for up to 10 days. We wanted to make it easy for consumers to integrate the Reach into their everyday lives instead of constantly worrying about taking it on and off every day to charge and then, perhaps, forgetting to put it back on.
Our pricing model is also different from most incumbents. Silvertree’s subscription pricing is all-inclusive, meaning we don’t charge extra for features like fall detection or the Silvertree app. We are also priced more competitively than others, at only $25 per month for the full suite of features, including fall detection and 24/7 emergency monitoring. From the onset, we wanted to be a product that was accessible to all - from both a feature and a pricing standpoint.
Who is your target market? And is it different than the conventional PERS target market?
We think about our target market as ‘active older adults’—individuals who want to maintain their active, independent lifestyles but appreciate having an extra layer of protection, just in case. We also think about the families and loved ones of these users and how we can help them maintain peace of mind that mom or dad are always connected and safe. I’m not sure our audience is materially different than the traditional PERS market, although we tend to skew younger in terms of adoption and usage, given the feature set and design.
How is the device monitored? Who is providing the professional monitoring?
Every Silvertree device comes with professional 24/7 emergency call center monitoring. Our partner holds all of the highest certifications in the industry, including 5-diamond and UL. However, unlike traditional PERS products, we don’t immediately escalate all alarms to the call center. The wearer’s Care Team is the first line of defense for all emergencies. If they’re unable to respond in the case of an emergency, our 24/7 Emergency Call Center will be alerted, and a Safety Agent will contact the user and work with local emergency services to dispatch help as needed.
Is Silvertree direct-to-consumer only? If yes, do you envision expanding to other models and insurance-paid solutions in the future?
Silvertree is currently only available direct-to-consumer via our website: https://silvertree.io/shop. As we grow, I’m sure new channels will be part of our strategy, but for today, we are focused on maintaining that 1 to 1 relationship with our users.
What would you think people would be most surprised to know about Silvertree and what you’re doing?
People may be surprised to know that Silvertree is not just about fall detection and location tracking. Our product is designed for anyone or any family that is looking for a connected care platform where multiple members of a Care Team can participate and stay apprised of the personal safety and care of a loved one.
Unlike other PERS solutions, Silvertree’s solution seems to rely heavily on the role of the caregiver as a significant part of the process from sign-up to day-to-day. Tell us why Silvertree made that decision. Do you think the role of the caregiver has been misunderstood by PERS vendors in the past?
Silvertree made the decision to rely heavily on the caregiver because not all emergencies require professional intervention. Historically, the caregiver hasn’t been considered a critical factor in the response equation, but considering 90% of alert calls that stem from safety devices do not require medical intervention or emergency response, we saw a huge opportunity to offer family members a chance to respond before engaging emergency services for help. This reduces the high emotional and financial toll that escalating to emergency services can have on users, not to mention the strain on first responders and hospitals that are frequently responding to non-emergency situations.
For adults who are responsible for both young children and their own aging parents (aka the “sandwich generation”), the Silvertree Reach can be a very useful tool to stay closely connected. We all have older loved ones we care about, and providing technology that offers increased connection gives families peace of mind while still allowing the user to maintain their independence and confidence.
While this model is unique to Silvertree, we certainly haven’t forgotten about those who might not want to involve a Care Team. For these individuals, emergency services can still be their first line of defense. Ultimately, the Silvertree Reach is a strong fit for anyone needing support, regardless of their family structure.
Historically, marketing has not been a strong suit for PERS. There’s a long history of celeb endorsements, but tell us about your relationship with Martha Stewart and why do you believe she is the right person/voice to advocate for your product?
Martha is an icon that transcends generations. She is incredibly active between her farm, her business empire, and her various philanthropic endeavors. Even at 82 years old, she has no plans of slowing down. When we first met, she loved the idea of wearing a modern and fashionable device that could keep her connected and protected without the baggage or stigma. She’s tried other devices on the market, but after seeing what Silvertree was about and wearing the device for a bit, she really began to love it. She believes in the brand, and what we stand for, and as one of the most iconic figures in today’s society, she’s the perfect partner for us to showcase the product in a really authentic way.
What is your analysis of the existing PERS market, and where do you see the industry in five years?
Across consumer technology, we’ve seen an increased appetite for devices that blend in with everyday routines. Despite the introduction of subdued smartwatches and jewelry-disguised smartrings, we have yet to see a style transformation to the medical alert market. When designing the Silvertree Reach, I knew that we didn’t want to compete with the watch industry – people have a strong loyalty to their watches. Within the next five years, I believe we’ll see an even stronger movement towards fashion-forward wearables, including in the PERS market, that will cater to those who are adopting this technology at an earlier age. The industry is already beginning to see an emergence of devices that are more design-forward, and I would expect that trend to continue over time.
How do you think seniors becoming more comfortable with technology will impact the PERS industry?
The pandemic specifically has sparked a stronger adaptation of technology for those who are 50 and older. As more and more older adults acclimate themselves with newer technology, the industry will need to innovate to meet their expectations. If the rest of their life is digitized, they will expect to see that innovation breakthrough into other aspects as well. A recent AARP survey found that four in five respondents “rely on technology to stay connected and in touch with family and friends,” so there will be an increased focus on personal safety devices to offer connectivity features.
Do you continue to see PERS as separate from remote medical monitoring or care, or do you see a nexus?
Today, the two are parallel, but different. Where PERS is more of a ‘passive’ solution, RPM devices are more ‘active’ in their collection of data and application of insights. I can certainly see a world where these two parallel industries intersect, but I would expect to see other forms of consolidation happen first, especially around the connected fitness and personal wellness space.
Will Silvertree be present at MAMA's annual conference this year?
Yes, I will be at the conference and look forward to meeting more members of the industry there!