Heidi Culbertson

St. Petersburg, Florida

Marvee
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Heidi Culbertson, founder of Marvee, has launched a software company named after her mother, in part because she was the inspiration for Culbertson's innovation.

"When my mom turned 92, we gave her the newly launched Amazon Echo which was great for entertainment," Culbertson said. "Because she had recently gone blind, she started to ask if it could do other things like send an email to the family assuring us she was OK. I decided to build an application for the Echo so she could just speak and make those things happen instead of having to find and touch a button first. At Marvee we're crafting very specific features for those hindered by vision or mobility deficits."

Marvee's goal is to solve multiple challenges faced by both aging individuals and their caregivers. "It gives those hindered by vision, mobility or aging challenges an easy way to communicate with family members and caregivers," Culbertson explained. "Our mission is threefold: to offer independence and combat social isolation for elderly adults, provide peace of mind for family caregivers and finally to increase family engagement with older adults."

Marvee's initial care companion services include personal alerts to communicate the user is safe or that they are requesting visitation and the family news feature which allows the user to hear updates sent by those invited to do so.

Culbertson's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs centers on passion, values and focus. "I always tell people to begin with something you're passionate about," she said. "Know your values and build a team around you that aligns with them. Also, stay focused and don't be distracted by the noise of launch. Execute your plan."
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