Meet Marlo Vernon, CU Leeds School of Business alumna and CEO of CarePenguin, a company bringing non-invasive activity-monitoring technology to market. Marlo studied Marketing and got her Entrepreneurship Certificate through the Deming Center at CU Boulder!
Growing up in an entrepreneurial environment, Marlo’s family was always building things and starting companies. Her dad is an engineer and years ago he built a temperature sensor for the hot water pipe. They discovered that it was a great way to tell if someone was home and believed it could be useful in the senior care industry. Inspired by her grandmother who’s living alone, she came up with the idea of CarePenguin.
During her senior year at CU Boulder, she pitched her idea to a class she took with Brad Werner. Centered around how to grow a business and get customer validation, the class voted for her pitch and she was able to work on her venture.
With invasive and more expensive products on the market, CarePenguin is able to provide “Independent living with peace of mind.” Their product takes the temperature of the hot water pipe every 15 seconds. Anytime that someone turns on a faucet in the house, the temperature will spike, indicating that someone is in the house and active. Users can then look at an app on their phone that tells them information on their loved one’s activity! And even more importantly, notifications are sent for lack of activity. Marlo and her team are excited to launch in March and will be making their product available for purchase on their website then!
After graduating in May of 2020 and seeing the scarcity of available jobs, she felt as though it was the perfect time to start her company. She was able to sit back and pursue her passion! In a time where we are all socially-distanced from our families and loved ones, this product is great. There is an extra level of worry when it comes to COVID affecting our loved ones and CarePenguin alleviates some of these worries with their incredible non-invasive monitoring. Especially with COVID running through retirement homes and independent living facilities, CarePenguin allows elderly people to maintain some of their privacy and still be monitored remotely.
Advice for Current Students
Marlo loves learning about the senior care industry and wearing different hats as CEO of CarePenguin. The biggest challenge she has faced is getting people to believe in her despite her age. She shared three pieces of advice to current students:
“1. If you are a young person trying to start a company, it is important to be really knowledgeable. You should educate yourself on the industry that you are trying to enter so that you can easily answer questions from investors and others!
2. Don’t get caught up in the startup buzz. At some point, you have to just do it and implement whatever you are working on.
3. Customer validation is really important. You can have the coolest idea ever, but if no one wants to buy it, it’s kind of useless.”