Shared family experience was the source of inspiration behind LifeShare Technologies, a startup company housed in Shelbyville’s Intelliplex business development incubator. The company’s principals found that they, like many families nowadays, were faced with aging loved ones needing additional care and assistance but feeling isolated from relatives and friends. While younger generations find it hard to unplug from access to various technology, many seniors are intimated by the vast choice and use of technology. LifeShare began with the goal of creating user-friendly technology to enable seniors and their families to stay better connected.
LifeShare allows family members to use the method they prefer to communicate, while allowing their loved one to get messages—no matter how they were sent—through a device connected to their TV. Family can send text, pictures, and video via their tool of choice—email, social media, or text—to a grandparent, aunt, or uncle . The senior won’t know that it is an email or a text, only that it is a message from a loved one. LifeShare creates slideshows of photos sent through messages that can be played by the resident at any time. Many residents love this feature because it allows them to view photos in a larger form and share in special moments with family near and far. LifeShare also has developed ways for senior care communities to connect with their residents through calendars, notifications, and wellness activities. “Our goal at LifeShare is to simplify communication and access to information so users can focus on what if most important to them staying connected to family and friends”, said Steve Rusche, CEO. “The result is a higher quality of life for everyone involved.”
At its core, LifeShare is a software development company, developing web applications, mobile applications, and firmware for the television set top box it has designed. The LifeShare product offering ties together senior care providers, family members, and residents. Senior care facility staff update community information such as activity and menu information through a web app. Family members use a web app or mobile app to view the community information and to send messages to their loved one. Residents use the LifeShare set top box with customized firmware to view messages and other content.
The founders of LifeShare are no strangers to the challenges and rewards of starting a new company. The core LifeShare team worked together to create eTapestry, the first webbased fundraising software solution. The enjoyment of creating something new and unique as well as impactful on the quality of life for people are the driving forces behind this group going the startup route a second time. “It is such a privilege to once again be part of a team that is notonly up for the rigors of creating a new company, but is motivated by the challenge of finding ways to improve people’s lives,” said Steve Rusche.
LifeShare’s partnership with Shelby County and Rose Hulman’s IMPaCT Program (Innovative Model: Positioning Communities for Transformation) led to LifeShare locating its corporate offices in Shelbyville’s business development incubator at the Intelliplex where LifeShare has resided since August, 2011. “Shelbyville and Shelby County have been great partners,” says Steve Rusche. “We truly value their continued support and commitment to our growth.”
The IMPaCT partnership has enabled the company to expand its workforce each summer with college interns who work on real software projects as they gain valuable hightech skills. Through its participation in the IMPaCT partnership, LifeShare has hosted 12 student interns each summer from RoseHulman.
LifeShare is also a corporate partner in the EMERGE program, an IMPaCT initiative to increase Shelby County high school students’ interest in STEM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). In addition to providing students with an overview on software development career opportunities, LifeShare’s software engineers run a hands on exercise with students. “Today’s students are fearless of technology and willing to dive in and try new things,” says John Moore, LifeShare’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our goal is for students to realize there are many career opportunities in software engineering beyond just programming, including graphic arts, user interface design, and project management.”
LifeShare’s future successes will come from continuing to develop and enhance its services that support quality of life and community engagement for seniors. Its product portfolio includes a wide variety of tools and feature to provide value to seniors, caregivers, and families. “We work in an industry with a special calling to enhance the lives of seniors and their families. Our customer partners continually influence and inspire our product enhancements and because of this, our offerings will expand significantly in the future,” says Chip Muston, LifeShare’s Vice President of Sales.
For additional Information, visit LifeShare’s website at www.lifesharetech.com .