Spanish Startup Vermut teams up with Birdhouse to bring innovative AgeTech to Seniors
Fernando Dellepiane, founder Vermut
Does it sometimes seem like every tech startup is catering to the youngest generations? This is changing fast thanks to Birdhouse graduates like Vermut. The Spanish startup has come up with a digital platform specifically for senior individuals. It provides a marketplace for enjoyable experiences, personal growth, and leisure activities for a new generation of 'older' people. Founder Fernando Dellepiane reveals how his startup is revolutionizing how this demographic spends their time.
Cultivating a diverse network
Although Birdhouse has had a global reach for some time, Dellepiane stumbled upon the accelerator by chance. "It's actually a pretty funny story. My folks live in Malaga, and their neighbors are Belgian. Their son happens to be good friends with Birdhouse founder Jan-Willem Callebaut. When we got to talking about Vermut, he suggested that we look into Birdhouse as a potential accelerator," Dellepiane says.
Vermut was selected for the Birdhouse accelerator, and attended the program 50% on-site and 50% remotely. According to Dellepiane, the program did an excellent job of fostering a strong sense of community among the participants. "We had the opportunity to meet other startups in the program, including a few companies from Spain and France. Everyone was able to share knowledge and ideas with one another right from the start," he says.
Leading the way in AgeTech
For Dellepiane, the Birdhouse cohort's exclusive focus on AgeTech was one of the biggest benefits of the program. "It really made a huge difference for us," he adds. "Dirk Schyvinck, the program manager and author of a book on aging, gave us valuable benchmarks and shared years of experience with us. With his help, we were able to clarify our mission and vision, which is crucial for any startup. This has guided us in making the right decisions in different areas of running our business."
Among those different areas were hiring and funding, for which Birdhouse invited international speakers to share their in-depth views. “It was really interesting and useful to listen to venture capitalists give us an inside view into what they do and their selection process. We’re also grateful for the advisory board, with whom we discussed our progress every two months. They’re one of the reasons we were able to expand and make an impact in the AgeTech business,” Dellepiane says.
"As a founder, it’s not always easy to prioritize and follow through. So it was nice to have a sounding board to push us in the right direction.”
Making the right calls, today and in the future
One of the advisory board members was Catalina Daniels, who previously worked at McKinsey and is currently active at U.S. accelerator ERA. “Even after finishing the program last year, she is still helping us,” explains Dellepiane. “We have a special mentoring agreement, and she’s assisting us with the metrics we should be looking at. This helps us use a more data-driven approach.” He adds, “Same goes for Dirk: he still sends us useful insights and tips via email.”
Vermut was able to secure 1.5 million euros in funding following the program. “We were really able to make a name for ourselves with the help of Birdhouse,” says Dellepiane. “Having gone through an AgeTech accelerator validates us. It makes you stand out from other companies. Investors take note of the fact that we’ve been through a Belgian accelerator for AgeTech. I can tell that we’re on the radar of a few venture capitalists thanks to this extra credibility.”