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Jul 13, 2021
HITLAB and AARP Innovation Labs Select Seven Finalists to Pitch During 2021 Social Connections Challenge
Showcasing an array of innovators, presenting solutions for the 50-plus to build social connections and better engage with their communities

NEW YORK CITYHITLAB and AARP Innovation Labs announced today the seven finalists for the Social Connections Challenge, which sought out digital innovations to combat loneliness and social isolation an issue that affects many adults as they age. The finalists will present their novel solutions in front of a global audience and a distinguished panel of judges on July 15, for their chance to win runner-up prizes of $5,000 and $10,0000 HITLAB sponsorships. The grand prize winner will have the opportunity to compete in AARP Innovation Labs’ 2021 Grand Pitch Finale and consideration to become a member of AARP’s startup portfolio.

RSVP Here to Attend.

“We would like to congratulate the finalists on making it to the final stage of the Social Connections Challenge,” said John Hammitt, Executive Director at HITLAB. “Having personally screened applications, I can add that the selection process was extremely competitive. We look forward to hearing from these inspiring innovators on July 15th and following their success for years to come.”

“In the past year, we have seen just how critical technology is in reducing social isolation among older adults, from ordering groceries to telehealth visits and connecting with loved ones,” said Jacqueline M. Baker, Vice President of Startup Programming, AARP Innovation Labs. “We look forward to hearing how these innovative solutions can help further address the issue of social isolation and loneliness among older adults and inviting the winner to this year’s AARP Innovation Labs Grand Pitch Finale.”


Care. Coach (Millbrae, California)- Care.Coach is a tech company that supports individuals in the home to improve healthcare delivery. by using digital avatars powered by artificial intelligence enables relationships, coaches risk-mitigation, and behaviors to help coordinate care.  

Caregiven (Portland, Oregon)- Caregiven is a digital platform that empowers and guides caregivers to help with the challenges and responsibilities that come with caring for individuals.

Family Proud (San Diego, CA)- Family Proud is an easy and secure management tool that provides resources, care, and allows other caregiver members to connect to individuals who are also caring for their family members.

Hank (New York, New York) - Hank simplifies healthcare delivery for caregivers and enables them to view, manage, and automate tasks and responsibilities for their loved ones as they age.

Joylux (Seattle, Washington)- Joylux focuses on providing better health outcomes for women who are going through menopause using high tech devices and digital tools.

SelfHelp (New York, New York)- SelfHelp Virtual Senior Center (VSC) is a virtual center for homebound older adults. Operating 7 days a week, live classes take place year-round online to connect older adults and form a vibrant online community.

Wowzitude (Woodcliff, New Jersey) - Wowzitude is a virtual tour and travel program with 50+ destinations that allows older adults to connect and engage in conversations within their communities.

RSVP to Hear them Pitch.


HITLAB and AARP Innovation Labs are honored to welcome three experts in innovation to serve as judges for this event.

Keynote Speaker

In addition to the innovator pitches, the Social Connections Challenge Day is sure to be an experience. Following introductory remarks from AARP Innovation Labs, and once the innovator pitches have concluded, attendees are in store for a rousing speech from a renowned expert. Joining the virtual stage from the University of California San Diego is Dilip V. Jeste, M.D..

Dr. Dilip Jeste is a renowned geriatric neuropsychiatrist specializing in wisdom and other positive attributes of the aging brain. He holds several distinguished teaching and research titles at the University of California, San Diego, where he helped develop one of the largest geriatric psychiatry divisions in the world. Dr. Jeste also served as President of the American Psychiatric Association


Grand prize: AARP Innovation Award

  • Opportunity to participate in the AARP Innovation Labs 2021 Grand Pitch Finale*
  • Opportunity to be considered in the AARP Innovation Labs startup portfolio

2nd Prize: Innovator Award

  • HITLAB Innovator Summit Sponsorship valued up to $10,000

3rd Prize: Pioneer Award

  • HITLAB Symposia Sponsorship valued up to $5,000

In addition to these prizes, a bonus prize will be presented to female founders and/or solutions pertaining to women’s health, which will include a HITLAB Women’s Health Tech Sponsorship valued up to $10,000.

AARP Innovation Labs Grand Pitch Finale Competition

AARP Innovation Labs’ Grand Pitch Finale Competition will return for a fourth year in Fall 2021. The event in 2020 featured eight cutting-edge startups that won selective competitions throughout the year for their innovative solutions to empower people to live how they want as they age. AARP Innovation Labs’ Grand Pitch Finale spotlights some of the best and brightest startups identifying challenges and solving important issues that impact everyone as we age.


HITLAB is an impact-first organization that offers digital health research, teaching, and advisory services to improve health delivery around the world.

At HITLAB, we believe technology and health can work together to improve the quality of health delivery and healthcare worldwide. We use rigorous research and evidence-based methods to identify the best digital health solutions for each of our partners.

About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.​

For further information: Justin Bulova, HITLAB,, 860-748-6145; Vanessa Camozzi, AARP,, 202-706-2701