David Inns, age 46, was running the consumer division of Bell Mobility in Canada, a wireless company, when he was brought in by San Diego, California-based GreatCall founders Arlene Harris and Marty Cooper to help launch the company in 2006. He wanted to be a part of the new venture because he realized that "the older population was being left behind by technology."
GreatCall's first product was the Jitterbug, a phone that's designed for older customers. That was followed by the Jitterbug touch, a simplified smartphone with a large font. The phones filled a special void for older consumers to help get them connected. Since then, GreatCall has expanded into many different directions, starting a digital health service in 2008. It's been offering new products, like a mobile version of a medical alert device, unveiled in 2011 and an app that provides alerts to family caregivers, as well as the Splash, a waterproof medical alert device.
Inns said annual revenues are "several hundred million a year" and that the company has been experiencing 20 percent growth year-to-year over the past three years. It's gone from zero employees in 2006 to 1,000 today.
Inns' secret to success: A customized experience from top to bottom, including required "sensitivity training" for customer service agents, where they use the products while wearing glasses that simulate glaucoma and gloves that simulate arthritis.
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