Cahoots Member Feature: Cameron Brown & Billy
Cahoots is full of talented teams, and each member brings something different to the table. Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with Cameron Brown of Billy, a rising health tech startup focused on senior care.
To begin, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was born in California but my family is almost all from Ann Arbor, MI. We moved back when I was a kid and I’ve been living here pretty much ever since. I worked in a couple different groups usually operations focused, customer service or customer success, all in the greater Ann Arbor area. I worked at one former startup, but I have mostly been working in small businesses.
How did you end up at Billy?
It’s a funny story. The founders are both Australians, a pair of brothers. They came to the states looking for folks to do a pilot or some initial investment. They actually did the first commercial pilot in Saline, with a group called EHM. That’s how they ended up in Ann Arbor. That was lucky for me, because I was here and they needed someone to help with operations in the area. They ended up relocating back to Australia in the early stages of the business and we actually ended up building the bulk of the team back in Australia as it was a more comfortable landscape for us to search for funding and do our initial launch. We’ve maintained a remote office here in Ann Arbor as the hub of our US operations because we recognize that the bigger market is here in the states, and because our management team has fallen in love with the city of Ann Arbor.
So what exactly is Billy?
Billy is a in-home monitoring service for seniors. Using a series of sensors placed around the home, we can tell when healthy activities are happening, such as when meals are eaten, when medication gets taken, when a senior is up and about, and when they leave their home. Billy monitors all of that information and then passes it to family members and caregivers. Billy’s mission is to assist seniors and help them live as independently as possible for as long as possible with the highest quality of life. Seniors are a pretty underserved demographic and we are really keen on spotlighting them and doing whatever we can to assist them.
What’s your role at Billy?
I am an Operations Specialist, my goals are basically to make sure that inputs and outputs are all in place. If a customer needs to buy Billy, there are a number of steps that have to happen in order for them to actually receive it. If they have any issue with Billy, they need to be able to contact someone on our team. We are responsible for building all of the processes that center around what needs to happen for people to actually use Billy and get support from us.
How did you and your team learn about Cahoots?
We had been looking for office space for a little bit in anticipation of our own growth and we looked around Ann Arbor. We found it challenging to find a cool or nice place to work that was keyed in on our size (2 or 3 people at the time). Looking at all of our options, we learned about Cahoots. We had a chat really really early on, the construction in this place (210 E. Huron) had not even been completed yet. We thought this seemed like a really cool option and when we did another quick tour, we were like yeah, this is it!
What can we expect to see from Billy in the near future?
We are currently commercially available in Australia. We are looking at a US consumer launch within the next 6 months. We are also ramping up our enterprise sales and I would expect to see a handful of larger partnerships with Billy in the next couple of years. Where those partners end up coming from and what size and shape they take is to be determined, but I think given what we see in senior care right now, there is nothing but room to grow here and that’s going to be really favorable for us.
How is Billy changing the way we look at the concept of aging?
I think what Billy and a handful of others are trying to do in this space is try to reframe where the real value is. The current landscape of gerontech is very reactive in that the bulk of the tech out there is based on alerting others when an emergency has occurred. I don’t think being exclusively reactive in this space is the right answer. If you are able to improve quality of life and improve wellbeing before an incident happens I think that is way more valuable and I think we are starting to see folks shift into more of that mindset.