By Tina Underwood, Furman University
There’s a new kid on the block for online tech support. Meet Go Go Quincy, the brainchild of Tyler Wood, a 2014 graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Furman University, and co-founder Ryan Greene. But Quincy isn’t for everyone—its target audience is adults aged 55 and older. And now, while the coronavirus Delta variant is raging, the company is offering the service to individuals at no charge.
“It’s an underserved population,” said Wood, who majored in communication studies at Furman and was a member of the baseball team. “Making it available for free is something we are happy to do—it’s a way to give back to a group that was so formative in our growing up. We want to return the favor.”
Greene came up with the idea of a tech support concierge for older adults when he visited his grandparents in Florida last year. Before returning to his home in New York, his grandfather handed him a hefty to-do list of technical problems that needed attention. That’s when the gears started turning for the entrepreneurial venture.
As part of his MBA at Columbia University, Greene took a class on launching a startup. With Wood’s help building out the company model throughout the semester and preparing the final pitch for the class, which included visiting venture capital firms, the two were ready to “pressure test” the product.
For the past several months, with a total of only four employees, the startup now has close to 500 users, including direct-to-consumer clients, friends and family, and about 70 retirement facilities and communities across 11 states.
The popularity of the service has grown so much that Wood quit his day job to dedicate his time toward building the business.
Here’s how Quincy works: Users call a hotline to request help from one of Quincy’s U.S.-based technicians. Following account setup, a brief onboarding session between the user and technician establishes the nature of the problem. With permission from the user through a unique authentication code, the technician gains access to the user’s device through remote support software, allowing the rep to see what’s happening on the other end. The technician either guides the user, or if necessary, takes control of the device to resolve the issue. Every session is video-recorded so the user and any family members can know exactly what steps were taken to resolve the problem.
Wood said Quincy provides more than on-demand tech fixes. “There’s an emotional aspect to it. Sure, we are solving very raw technical problems, but there’s a human on the other side—a dialogue and a relationship. We just want to be that friendly ally for these individuals. That’s been very fulfilling for Ryan and myself in the last few months.”
He describes a session in which a client struggled to send a five-minute video from her phone to her niece. The video of renewed wedding vows between the client and her husband was too long to send, so Wood walked the client through the process of editing the video to send in two smaller clips.
That’s the type of problem Wood and company see on a daily basis—simple for the more technically savvy, but perhaps frustrating for those who haven’t grown up with a phone in hand since age 8, Wood says.
And that’s the opportunity for the founders—to provide quick solutions so people can get on with their day. The service also frees up nursing staff at assisted living facilities whose primary role is to dispense caregiving, not tech know-how.
Wood expects to keep the service free to individuals 55 and older so they can receive help from the safety of their homes during the pandemic.
“We want to make sure they know they can count on this resource,” he said.
This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Furman University website.