Caption: Andrew Cuthbert (right) discovered GigTank at SXSW Interactive.
(Photo by Jennifer Conley)
Like all of our GigTank entrepreneurs, Andrew Cuthbert and his teammates left their families and homes behind for the summer while they build their startup companies. But unlike the other entrepreneurs, “home” for Cuthbert’s team is approximately 4,000 miles away.
A native of Northern Ireland, Cuthbert made his first visit to the U.S. just weeks before moving to Chattanooga for the GigTank. While attending the South by Southwest festival in March, he learned about Chattanooga’s bandwidth and subsequently applied to the GigTank.
“The Gig is really necessary for our purposes,” Cuthbert said. “There’s a risk for us if the internet connection is slow.”
His team, Silver Communities, is working to build a technology platform that supports caregivers, enabling them to deliver more effective care while reducing costs. Once the software is developed, a range of curated applications will be delivered through tablet computers to healthcare providers and facilities, promoting better care for senior citizens. Cuthbert explained that slow or dropped connections could disrupt this vital service, and the Gig will prevent that from happening.
Though Silver Communities is in its early stages, Cuthbert’s passion for social work has been growing for years – he started his first charity when he was only 19. After struggling with funding in the nonprofit world, he began building profitable businesses that maintained a focus on the greater good.
In 2010, he founded Omnisoft Services Ltd., a solutions provider specializing in education, social and health-related software services. One of Omnisoft’s key services is gamification; the company provides educational, web-based games that schools can incorporate into their curriculum.
“This helps children who might have struggled to learn in the past. We’ve had children go from 10 percent to 80 percent averages,” Cuthbert said.
The games reinforce lessons taught in the classroom while providing entertainment value for students. The software analyzes student performance, making evaluation easier and more accurate for teachers.
Several of Cuthbert’s Omnisoft colleagues have joined him in Chattanooga to focus exclusively on Silver Communities for the summer. Peadar Loughrey, also from Northern Ireland, is assisting with research and marketing efforts.
Loughrey, 25, has an extensive and varied resume that includes a political science degree, communications experience and social work. He said he shares Cuthbert’s desire to improve the lives of others.
“Growing up in Northern Ireland, conflict is just a part of people’s lives,” Loughrey said. “So how do you bring about peace? It’s slightly idealistic, but that’s what motivates me.”
Both Loughrey and Cuthbert emphasized that building a successful business model will help move Silver Communities along, but turning a profit isn’t the ultimate goal.
“We are focused really on making life better for others in need,” Cuthbert said. “The money is just a consequence.”
*Silver Communities pitched the product “Argentab” on GigTank Demo Day