Ayesha Chowdhury

Founder of MyCassie (Zero Laboratories Ltd)


Cassie was created as a solution to the growing loneliness epidemic amongst the elderly population in the UK. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people, aged 75+ in the UK, live alone with more than a million older people often going months without speaking to friends or family. The impact of this isolation on our elderly population’s health is profound, increasing the risk of chronic conditions and early mortality by 26% and being associated with poor mental health, including depression.

Our journey began in 2023 when our founder Ayesha was volunteering at care homes and realised that often she was the only person the residents would speak to all week. Watching the elderly struggle with loneliness and the challenges of aging inspired her to find a solution that could provide comfort, companionship, and assistance to the elderly, enhancing their independence and well-being.

Thus, Cassie, an advanced AI companion, was created as a solution to combat this, offering 24/7 emotional support, personalized health & wellness tools, safety management, and tailored entertainment including cognitive stimulation designed for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Aiming to enhance the quality of life of its users by adapting to their personalities and preferences.

Embarking on this venture was not without its challenges. As a woman of colour and a female founder in the tech industry, I encountered unconscious bias and skepticism about my capabilities and the viability of my vision. Securing funding was particularly daunting, as investors often questioned my technical expertise and the market potential of products designed for the elderly—a demographic they perceived as tech-averse.

To overcome these barriers, I focused on building a diverse team that shared my passion for making a difference in the lives of the elderly. We work closely with gerontologists, psychologists, and, most importantly, seniors themselves, to ensure Cassie is empathetic, intuitive and creates transformative impact. This user-centric approach helps us refine our technology to better meet the needs of our target demographic.

Catering to the largest patient group in the NHS, Cassie aligns closely with healthcare objectives. Cassie aims to save the NHS thousands of pounds per elderly patient by providing first-line support for chronic loneliness, mental health, and well-being. Additionally, aiding in the prevention of associated health events in a timely and accessible manner whilst alleviating resource constraints faced by the NHS which could otherwise delay support for our most vulnerable.

As an NHS patient myself, I have a unique insight into the healthcare system and the specific needs of patients, especially the elderly. This personal experience has informed our approach to developing Cassie, ensuring that it addresses real-world healthcare challenges and complements traditional care methods. As we look to the future, we remain dedicated to enhancing the lives of the elderly and look to explore partnerships with healthcare providers, including NHS facilities, to reach more users to ensure they feel valued, connected, and supported in their golden years.