Abe Matamoros came up with the idea for EllieGrid in 2015 after a family trip to Mexico to visit his grandfather.
When they arrived at his grandfather's home, the elderly man was unresponsive, shivering and ill. The family eventually realized he hadn't taken his medications in three days. Part of the reason was that he grew frustrated that it took him between 30 minutes and one hour to organize his pills in weekly organizers printed with the days on the top and times on the side.
The experience frightened 22-year-old Matamoros so much he decided something needed to be done to address the problem. He reached out to his friend Regina Vatterott, who was a student at St. Edward's University in Austin at the time and working for an advertising company serving independent pharmacies.
The pair did some research and realized there were smart pill dispensers on the market – but they cost around $800 on top of a monthly fee.
“That's just not realistic for most people,” COO Vatterott said. “Especially considering people spend so much money on medicines and healthcare already.”
The budding entrepreneurs found that pillboxes are not just for the elderly. Adults of all ages who take supplements or vitamins as well medicines could use a more efficient way to organize their pills and remember when to take them.