Agiloak: Coming to Iowa City out of necessity

Technology to keep elderly homeowners in their home is making its way to North America this summer.

Originally based in Chester of the United Kingdom, Agiloak is a health and social care technology company that developed a smart home monitoring system to enable elderly people who live alone to continue living independently.

The Agiloak home monitoring system—BenignEye—monitors daily activities in a nonintrusive manner and provides information and alerts to families or care organizations when abnormalities occur.

The technology was first developed by Nick Jones and his brother, for their mom who was suffering from vision and hearing problems as she got older.

“Our mom wasn’t unique with elderly challenges trying to live independently,” Jones says. “So my brother for a while now has been rolling that out into a product for about nine months now and they finally feel like they are ready to roll it out.”

Jones said the BenignEye technology will go to market next month in the United Kingdom. He’s hopeful to bring it to market by June in the United States.


Coming to America

Having an Agiloak distributor in the United States wasn’t in the original business plan.

But because of Matty Jones—Nick’s son—who has a very rare auto-immune condition which caused his kidneys to fail, the Jones family relocated to Iowa City in March of 2017.

Jones said Iowa City has the best labs in the world for this condition.

“There’s a doctor here who has a daughter with the same condition as my son, it’s very, very rare,” Jones says. “They don’t have a cure yet but they are really on top of it here more than anywhere in the world.”

After discussions during Christmas with his brother, Jones said they decided to explore a distribution plan for North America.

Working with researchers

Along with its home monitoring system BenignEye, Jones said he’s also working on a mobile app—KBudd—with researchers at the University of Iowa so patients can better track and take their medications.

“My son is on the transplant list for a kidney and the biggest risk to any transplant patient is not complying with your medications,” Jones says.

He said working from Merge and being involved with the Iowa City startup community has helped ease the transition from the UK to Iowa.

“Everybody here views a new venture with the attitude of, ‘This is going to be awesome’ and they help you in any way they can,” Jones said. “We’re really enthused by the energy and the positivity here.”