VIKTOR, THE SOCIAL INNOVATION SERVICE FOR DIGITAL INCLUSION OF SENIORS
LEND from €20 up to €2000 with 5% interest rate repaid over 24 months and participate in funding the development of Viktor – the pillow for digital inclusion of seniors.
📌First goal: €70 000 with a success threshold at €50 000
📈The collection target ceiling may be removed at €100 000 if the campaign dynamics allow it.
The company’s repayment capacity analysis was based on an amount of €100 000.
The issue of an aging population will present major societal challenges the upcoming years. Coupled with loss of autonomy and independence, it raises questions of social and economic adaptation. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), in 2050 there will be close to 4 million elderly people with diminishing autonomy in France. Specifically, these people will need assistance with eating, getting dressed and managing personal hygiene.
At the same time, communication technology is evolving exponentially. However, often times our elderly are left behind. The use of digital media, from a simple remote control to a connected TV set controlled from a tablet or a computer, can become a complex and stressful task.
According to a study from the CSA Institute, 27 percent of people over 60 never use the internet. This exclusion especially affects the more than 1,7 million people who are over 80 years old.
One of the main causes of this disengagement in new means of communication is the ergonomics of the products. This digital gap constitutes a real handicap and distances the elderly from their close ones and social groups.
To address this issue, companies have started to create connected objects that are easy to use and that reinforce social bonds. This is also the case of Fingertips.
Founded in 2015 by Alain Tixier, an inventor and entrepreneur from Nice, Fingertips was born out of the autonomy loss of a person close to Tixiers. Faced with this difficult reality, the idea to create a solution that would help maintain contact with this person quickly came to him. Despite the many digital tools available on the market (e.g. smartphones, tablets, connected watches), none of them allowed for a quick comprehension and assimilation. More often than not, these tools appeared as an insurmountable barrier, contributing further to the digital gap for people with diminishing autonomy.
After 2 years of research and development, the pillow Viktor was born, created by the company Fingertips. This digital tool for people with autonomy loss and/or some sort of disability is equipped with buttons that are easy to use and that allow the user to access essential at-home care services, such as:
- - Care tracking;
- - Video conferencing and calls with family members;
- - Access to media content (films, photos, music etc.);
- - Access to cultural events “live” on their own TV.
The pillow Viktor is a familiar object, ergonomic and connected, that thanks to its design reminds us of something that we all have in our living rooms. The product is resistant to wear and tear, soft and pleasant to use. It reduces the digital gap and brings the digitally excluded closer to connectivity through an inclusive and caring tool. Thereby it helps senior citizens with autonomy loss to stay connected with their family members.
The solution includes several components:
- - A pillow with multiple basic commands;
- - A box connecting the pillow to the TV;
- - A TV-Viktor interface;
- - A webcam;
- - A WebApp allowing family members to stay in touch.
Optional: a 4G & 3G key for customers who do not have Wifi in their homes.
Two offers available:
- - One offer including all the components, easily installed via Wifi directly in the home;
- - One offer including all the components and an additional 4G key and a monthly internet subscription.
For environmental reasons, the pillow is made in France and produced in a respectful manner both for people and the planet.
Except for the electronic parts, the pillow is composed by sustainable and responsible materials. Moreover, the humanistic nature of the project led the pillows to be produced at ESAT, an employment program that aims for social integration of people with disabilities. This approach, albeit more costly, is completely in line with the company’s DNA.
The economic model
Viktor provides concrete solutions for multiple issues facing people who experience digital exclusion.
Viktor is commercialized in the form of 1) the purchase of the equipment (pillow + box) and 2) a monthly subscription for all of its services.
The offer targets two customer types:
- B2B: Health care professionals, insurances and retirement homes. Currently, B2B business development is prioritized. Targeting professionals at the start allows for the solution to be tested at a large scale. They are also essential for integrating the solutions among their patients.
- B2C: Private individuals are targeted through distribution channels such as Orange. February 17th 2020, a comprehensive collaboration with France Telecom was put in place, making it possible for customers to purchase the pillow directly in 39 shops as well as on Orange France’s website. This solution allows families to purchase the solution and easily stay in touch with their grandparents.
Presentation of Viktor in one Orange’s shops in Toulouse.
The project’s progress
Since 2015, Alain Tixier has developed his product with the aim to once and for all break the digital exclusion of the elderly thanks to a new digital solution. After more than two years of research and development, and a conviction that the project meets real expectations, the first version of the Viktor pillow saw the day in 2017 and was sold to the general public through the founder’s network.
The company has sold more than 1000 pillows, won a large number of prices and competitions, and gained a high visibility in the media. This has allowed for the company to develop further, hire new talent and attract interest from corporations, such as Orange, in may 2019.
Founder Alain Tixier presents the pillow Viktor at Orange.
Through its program Engage 2025, Orange wishes to make digital technology accessible for everyone, and make sure that it no longer constitutes a vector of exclusion. Viktor was a great match, which is why Orange decided on February 18th to sell the product in 39 shops all over France.
For more information: https://coussin-viktor.com/boutiques-orange/
This partnership has brought about widespread visibility for the company in the stores, on Orange’s website as well as in numerous TV and radio reports. This lever of recognition has resulted in a high rise in sales of the Viktor pillows.
The B2B focus is also in a development stage, with the acquisition of new clients from sectors such as retirement homes, health care, insurances and local authorities. The company has entered a partnership with the city of Nevers, a city that wishes to combat digital exclusion of its senior population.
Other partnerships have followed, such as the one with an international group of retirement homes, which have committed to distribute pillows to several of their facilities in France and abroad (e.g. Canada).
Organization of a 300-pillow delivery.
Alain Tixier, founder of the company and the inventor of the pillow, has had a diverse professional life before embarking on his entrepreneurial adventure. Instructor, educator, chemist and event producer, this father of 4 is convinced that we must live in solidarity with each other, and that innovation, above all, needs to cater to the societal issues of today. The creation of the pillow Viktor emerged after a conversation with his mother, where she reminded him that technology should serve people and the planet, not the other way around.
Viktor is also a family adventure. His sons, Antoine and Victor quickly joined the project to assist with business development and communication, essential tasks for the successful development of any project. Later, the team was completed with a UX designer, in order to make the user experience more fluent and ensure the ergonomics of the pillow. A product of this kind needs to be fast and easy to use, for everyone.
The team behind Viktor accepts an award at “Trophées de l’innovation” In September 2018.
The use of funds
In order to respond to the surge in demand that Fingertips is currently facing, the company is in pursuit of a treasury to unblock the situation. The partnership with Orange requires financial, human and technical resources. Therefore, a loan from the Solylend platform will help the project to deliver on time, thanks to Solylend’s rapidly moving community.
Parallel to the fundraising campaign on Solylend, the project is in the final stages of raising €2 million, which will allow the company to accelerate the signing of new B2B contracts, such as a 300-pillow contract with a client in Canada.
This raising of funds is carried out in part with long-established investors (Side Capital) and new ones, such as Village by CA, which has already accompanied the project on its trip to CES in Las Vegas in 2019.