GreatCall raises $7M venture loan to expand 5Star mPERS

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 21, 2012        

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greatcallresponderSan Diego-based GreatCall, which offers the 5Star cellular-enabled personal emergency response (mPERS) device and service as well as the Jitterbug mobile phone service, has raised $7 million in a venture loan from NXT Capital Venture Finance. GreatCall’s existing investors include Charles River Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Nauta Capital, Steelpoint Capital Partners and Sumitomo.

GreatCall plans to use the funds to grow its portfolio of wireless health and wellness services, especially its mPERS offering.

“The team at NXT Capital Venture Finance structured a facility that allows us to continue to invest in the adoption of our new 5Star urgent response platform,” Bill Kuncz, GreatCall’s Chief Financial Officer said in a statement.

Last October GreatCall commercially launched its dedicated mPERS device, 5Star Responder. GreatCall began its foray into the mPERS market following its 2009 acquisition of mPERS company MobiWatch. The (mPERS) device could also take the form of an iPhone app called Instant Response. The device is available for $49.99 at GreatCall’s website and also at stores, including some Walmart and Sears locations. Both the device and app require their own $14.99 month subscription.

In April GreatCall launched an iPhone app version of its LiveNurse offering. The app offers users unlimited access to a registered nurse 24 hours a day and seven days a week along with a medical library and symptom navigator tool. GreatCall partnered with A.D.A.M. to include its medical encyclopedia and interactive decision tools, which are based on information from the NIH and CDC. While its free to download, the LiveNurse iPhone app requires users to have already signed up for a $3.99 monthly subscription. Previously, GreatCall offered the service through its Jitterbug Services Store for a couple of years, but it was only available for Jitterbug cell phone users.

Last summer GreatCall launched its very first iPhone app, called MedCoach. That launch marked a watershed moment for the company since it has focused since its founding on providing very simple mobile phones for the senior population. MedCoach’s offerings include medication management, a contact list of doctors and pharmacies, as well as 24/7 email access to the company’s HIPAA compliant personal assistance service. The app also includes a “Shake for Help” feature that leverages the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer: Users shake the phone and a help “bubble” specific to the content onscreen will appear. When it’s time to refill medications, the user’s pharmacy can be contacted directly from the app, too.

More on GreatCall’s venture loan in the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE: NXT Capital’s Venture Finance Group today announced the closing of a $7.0 million subordinated venture loan to GreatCall, Inc. GreatCall will use the additional capital to expedite growth in an expanding portfolio of next generation health and wellness wireless services for consumers.

GreatCall serves the mature population, providing inexpensive, easy-to-use wireless devices and services that do not require long-term contracts. The company focuses on simplicity and offers a human touch for every service it provides. All of GreatCall’s devices, personalized services and customizable applications are easy to set up, easy to use and help keep customers connected, safe and healthy.

Headquartered in San Diego, CA, GreatCall is backed by Charles River Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Nauta Capital, Steelpoint Capital Partners and Sumitomo.

“In the five years we’ve known the GreatCall team, the company has consistently exceeded expectations by dominating the market for easy to use, inexpensive, practical wireless services for the boomer and senior markets,” said JP Marchette, Managing Director, NXT Capital Venture Finance.

“The team at NXT Capital Venture Finance structured a facility that allows us to continue to invest in the adoption of our new 5Star urgent response platform,” said Bill Kuncz, GreatCall’s Chief Financial Officer. “We have known the NXT team for years and they continue to demonstrate their ability to execute seamlessly. It is gratifying to reestablish our partnership with a trustworthy team that has the resources to support our capital needs as we continue to flourish.”

ABOUT NXT CAPITAL VENTURE FINANCE:

NXT Capital Venture Finance is a division of NXT Capital that serves entrepreneurs by providing less dilutive, more flexible forms of capital. With offices in Boston and Silicon Valley, NXT Capital Venture Finance provides senior and subordinated term loans in the $1 million to $20 million range to emerging growth companies backed by venture capital and private equity firms, particularly those in the technology and life science sectors. Target clients range from pre-revenue companies led by dedicated entrepreneurs to late-stage, proven businesses seeking more efficient growth capital. For more information, see www.nxtcapital.com/venture-finance.

ABOUT NXT CAPITAL:

NXT Capital provides structured financing solutions to middle-market and emerging growth companies, as well as real estate investors, through its Corporate Finance, Venture Finance and Real Estate Finance groups. Based in Chicago with offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Newport Beach and Silicon Valley, NXT Capital targets senior financing opportunities up to $150 million with a hold size up to $50 million. See www.nxtcapital.com.

ABOUT GREATCALL:

GreatCall is a company of “People You Can Count On” to deliver wireless services that help keep customers connected, safe and healthyTM. The company stands apart from other wireless services providers through its simplified, personalized and humanized approach, as well as its commitment to providing a high quality customer service experience. The company has been widely praised for its ability to deliver the benefits of innovation and technology in a meaningful and easy-to-use format. GreatCall has received prominent national media accolades from the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Washington Post and major TV broadcast networks.

GreatCall’s services, apps, and cell phone handsets, including The 5Star™ and The Jitterbug™ are sold nationwide at leading retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Sears, Meijer, Radio Shack Dealer Franchise, Fry’s Electronics and ShopKo, as well as direct to consumers at 1-800-918-8543 and online at www.greatcall.com. Service coverage includes the U.S. and Canada. GreatCall is located in San Diego, CA.