In Person and Pixels : Famileo

How to communicate without using technology in an ultra-connected world? Tanguy and Armel have the answer: Famileo. To make this an innovation adapted to its users, the two startup company founders didn’t just think about it, they also did a lot of listening.

Famileo has already made a place for itself in the daily life of a number of nursing homes, and soon elderly people and their families will be able to enjoy the service at home.

So what is Famileo?

Two co-founders, Tanguy and Armel, recently joined by two employees in charge of development, Amélie and Anne-Sophie.

With Famileo, we discovered a world that we had experienced from a distance in our personal lives when experiencing difficulty in communicating with our loved ones living in nursing homes. We wanted to develop a solution respectful of people’s habitual means of communication, without imposing the use of new technologies on the elderly.

Now, to stay in contact, families may post long or short messages on the Famileo application, and these are typeset and published in a paper gazette which is then given to their elderly loved ones.

It’s good to have an idea… But how do you make it a reality?

We took the plunge in February 2014. From February to June, we took our entrepreneurial approach into the field, meeting with more than 60 professionals, including a number of nursing home directors.

Since the beginning, we have been supported by the Saint-Malo Hospital Centre. Anne Le Gagne, the head doctor of the geriatrics centre there, boosted our spirits from the beginning by telling us, “There is something very important in what you are setting out to do: the intergenerational family bond is one of the most important pillars of personal well-being. It is an important issue in nursing homes, and it is fundamental to elderly people and their families.”

We built Famileo on this authoritative person’s statement, and she encouraged us, “Go ahead, I will share my contacts with you… Go through with it!”

A lot of entrepreneurs might have the idea of the century, but they don’t consider the market and the users. For six months, we did a lot of listening and very little planning. The project evolved a great deal through feedback from dependency professionals, who provided their views of how we could meet their expectations and the expectations of users and their families.

Only after this six-month period did we truly launch the project, with a fundraising agreement to boot: we landed a partnership in July 2014 with aquarelle.com and the founders of monalbumphoto.fr.

In 2015, we drafted the specifications hand-in-hand with Mobizel, all the while maintaining close relations with our users.

Can you tell us a bit about your business model?

Our economic model is based on the number of subscriptions: it is a strategy of volume. A subscription costs an establishment approximately 70 euros. Caring for dependent people is a field where budget issues are crucial, and we must keep our services affordable.

Throughout France, 120 nursing homes have already subscribed to Famileo. There is an especially strong participation in Ille-et-Vilaine, where the departmental council partly subsidizes the subscription for the nursing homes in that area.

What is on the 2016 agenda for Famileo?

We are working on the home version, which will be available at the end of June. We are trying to keep the price of a weekly or biweekly gazette under 10 euros, depending on the volume of messages that the families post on the application.