- York College of Pennsylvania graduates Alex Louderback and John Gallo are creating smart solutions for older Americans to age in place.
This innovative company, founded by York College graduates Alex Louderback, CEO, and John Gallo, COO, is revolutionizing the field of senior living with its cutting-edge smart-home solutions. The journey of BeeCentral is a testament to the power of education and mentorship.
“Alex and his team represent the type of innovative, entrepreneurial success of which we aim to assist our students and alumni,” says Oscar Winters ’14, Associate Director of Entrepreneur Programs and Engagement at York College. “They’re creating jobs for themselves and others, doing something they love, and keeping it all right here in York.”
A collaborative workspace
The J.D. Brown Center played a pivotal role in the genesis of BeeCentral. With a dedicated office at the Center, the founders have the ideal environment to bounce ideas off each other and others in the incubator, foster creativity, and refine their business strategy while accessing resources only available at York College.
The McNees Accelerator program seed capital, which Louderback won in 2022, further fueled the pair’s entrepreneurial spirit. Spearheaded by the J.D. Brown Center, this eight-week program utilizes faculty members and community leaders to help entrepreneurs start businesses. It provided the founders with the platform to develop their business model and connect with industry experts.
Louderback’s $4,000 McNees investment provided the seed money to get the business off the ground. In 2023, the company secured an additional $100,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners. The support from the Center, coupled with these resources, significantly propelled BeeCentral.
Louderback, who graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and Gallo, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2020 and completed his MBA at York College in 2021, leveraged their educational backgrounds to explore potential markets.
“I went to college for computer science but took several entrepreneurship classes,” Louderback says. “There are a lot of introduction to entrepreneurship opportunities at York College.”
Empowering seniors to age in place
Through research and extensive discussions, Louderback and Gallo identified retirement communities as their primary focus. With the mission of “Bringing new technologies for resident independence,” BeeCentral aims to empower seniors to age in place comfortably.
“The more we keep diving into this, the more we realize a greater need than we expected,” Gallo says. “Everyone we talk to is excited that this is coming down the pike. They see the value in the smart-home concept, in making a network of support to help residents.”
The company is on the verge of installing its smart-home solutions in several Central Pennsylvania independent-living communities, starting with a pilot program at a Presbyterian Senior Living community in Chambersburg.
For Louderback, the ability to make a tangible impact on the lives of seniors and reduce the workload on residential community staff is highly inspiring and rewarding.
A whole-home solution
Unlike many companies that focus on specific devices such as smart doorbells or thermostats, BeeCentral is a comprehensive smart-home solution provider. Through the BeeCentral HoneyComb, users access and control all of their smart-home devices through one app, no matter who developed each individual device.
“It’s pretty easy to market and install a single product, then leave it behind,” Louderback says. “For us, it’s about ongoing support, supporting our product through the whole life cycle. We’re not just leaving residents hanging out to dry with all the new technology.”
Additionally, BeeCentral is dedicated to optimizing its products specifically for seniors, incorporating features such as automated check-ins with family or staff and request-based call bells.
Room to grow at J.D. Brown
Louderback and Gallo envision expanding BeeCentral’s presence at the J.D. Brown Center. With plans to double its office space in the coming year, the company aims to grow exponentially.
They are in the process of hiring their first interns―York College students―as part of their commitment to fostering local talent and leveraging the College’s strong Computer Science program.
BeeCentral’s journey, intertwined with Louderback’s and Gallo’s educational backgrounds, utilization of resources, and invaluable support from professors and mentors, exemplifies the power of education and the entrepreneurial spirit. As it continues to make significant strides in smart-home solutions for seniors, BeeCentral stands as a testament to the transformative potential of entrepreneurship when combined with the right educational foundation and supportive environment.
“Use your resources as best you can,” Louderback says, “and if you have an opportunity, take the jump.”
Learn more: York College of Pennsylvania offers a wide variety of graduate degree, graduate certificate, and professional certificate programs to help you hone your skills and advance in your career. Visit ycp.edu for more details.