Hasbro alumni launch elder toy company
A group of former Hasbro employees has acquired the toymaker's first foray into elder-focused products, and it has launched its own company to build upon the brand.
That new venture is called “Ageless Innovation.” It started selling the Joy for All line of products in May. Those include a line of lifelike cats and dogs — developed with feedback from seniors, along with their families and caregivers — that aim to provide comfort and companionship.
The four-person team behind Ageless Innovation was involved with the development and launch of those toys back at Hasbro a few years ago, and they hope to “leverage the heritage of the Joy for All brand” at the new company and fill a “massive market need,” said Ted Fischer, CEO of the Pawtucket, RI, company.
Those involved say they plan to work closely with skilled nursing, academia and other eldercare stakeholders to help further scale the Joy for All brand, of which they now have 100% ownership.
“We want to understand the situations that our audiences are going to be having in their own environment, not in our environment,” Fischer told McKnight's. “So, we've spent a lot of time over the last three years visiting residential communities of all types — from memory care to skilled nursing and in-home services, etc. — to understand the ways in which our products can have impact.”
Ageless Innovation is eyeing further product development, but Fischer said it's too early to discuss what's coming down the pipeline.
The company is also working with researchers at Brown University to explore adding medication reminders and basic artificial intelligence to its pet products. That work is being funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Fischer said.