Assaf Wand has been a trader, a venture capitalist, a McKinsey consultant, and the founder of two telecommunications companies. But if Wand's resume screams Silicon Valley, his most recent startup is decidedly more Boca Raton. With Sabi, which is located in Palo Alto, California, Wand is targeting the over-65 crowd by bringing great design to everyday products such as canes and pillboxes.
There are few product categories that have gotten less love than canes and pillboxes. The way they're marketed to the elderly is seriously flawed, too. "It's all about being sick and old, and what will happen the day after you die," Wand says. So he launched Sabi to change the conversation.
To fulfill his mission, Wand pitched his idea to some of the top designers in the country. "It appealed to them on a portfolio level," Wand remembers. "If they're doing a TV for Samsung or a charging station for GE, why not make something for grandma, too?"
Yves Behar of fuseproject, who has designed for Herman Miller, Jawbone, and Prada, accepted the project immediately, working with Sabi to design its first line of pillboxes.
"If you look at the manufacturers of those products, they've never been focused on their customers really," says Behar. "They've been focused on the lowest common denominator."
Now, Wand is working on a walker that won't require people to put tennis balls on the bottom of the legs, as well as a line of products for the bathroom. Wand says, "Going to an unsexy market and making it sexy, that's what makes a company interesting to me."