Small Business Profile
MobileHelp makes a good call
Elias Janetis launched his senior aid device company in 2009.
More than 20 years have passed since "I've fallen and I can't get up" moved from a commercial for a medical alert pendant into a pop culture catchphrase. After spending 10 years working for others selling pendant services, Elias Janetis came to believe the technology was as dated as the slogan. "The No. 1 question people would ask me is, how far does the button work from the box?" he says.
The answer to that question led Janetis to look for a new approach that wouldn't depend on proximity to a monitoring box. Three years and $4 million later, his Boca Raton company, MobileHelp, came to market. Since launching sales at the end of 2009, the phones haven't stopped ringing. With a cellular connection and GPS, a senior with MobileHelp can summon aid, whether in the kitchen, on a neighborhood stroll or driving across town. Caregivers receive notification too and can go online to locate their loved ones.
A monthly subscription is $36.95, but the extra features and no contract make it "a strong value proposition," Janetis says. Designed in Boca, where the company employs just over 50, the device is manufactured in Malaysia.
To carry the company forward, Janetis stepped aside as chairman in September in favor of Boca entrepreneur Scott Adams. Adams co-founded and built Hiway Technologies into the world's then-largest web hosting company before selling it for $352 million in 1999. Janetis projects MobileHelp will be cash flow positive this year. "In downturns like this are opportunities," says Janetis, 37. "Isn't that the best time to launch a service that's value priced?"