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1 May, 2014 - 11:46 By Tony Quested

Canary care venture takes flight with angels

Chris-Curry

The Canary home care monitoring system, invented by Acorn Computers co-founder and technology entrepreneur Chris Curry, has emerged from stealth and is bidding to raise 250k on Cambridge UK-based crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom.

Canary, which was revealed by Business Weekly in May 2012, allows family and friends to remotely check in on elderly or sick relatives.

A group of professional investors has already pledged £125,000 to Canary Systems; now small investors are being invited to put in the same amount. The minimum investment is just £1000, and those buying shares will be entitled to a share of future profits.

When Curry ran through the prototype monitor for Business Weekly he explained that the system was devised to allow elderly or infirm people to live in their own homes for longer rather than having to go into homes or hospitals.

Canary is a series of sensors which, when installed in a person’s home, can check that everything is as it should be – and provide peace of mind for loved ones. They allow family, friends and carers to monitor online temperature, movement and even who is visiting.

The system can recognise, for example, if an elderly person has been to the kitchen to eat, if their house is warm enough, and whether a visitor (such as a carer) has been at the expected time. Canary doesn’t use cameras or microphones so nobody can be seen or heard, but if anything out of the ordinary does occur, the system will send an alert to designated family and friends by email or text.

The launch comes days after the Institute for Public Policy Research predicted that by 2017 the number of older people in need of care will outstrip the number of adult children able to provide it.

The engineers behind the Canary device, led by Curry, are raising the £250,000 by selling shares in the business through SyndicateRoom. SyndicateRoom is fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and is the first platform of its kind to allow smaller private investors to invest in start-ups alongside established business angels - i.e. professional investors.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, founder and CEO, SyndicateRoom, said: “Canary Systems’ technology provides huge reassurance to anyone with an elderly loved one who lives alone, and meets a growing need within the care sector by helping older people to live independently in their own homes for longer.

“Canary’s monitoring system is just what the doctor ordered. It requires no phone or internet connection, and offers instant peace of mind to those of us who want to know that our elderly relatives are well but can’t visit every day.”

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