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Why ‘AgeTech’ is a $9 Trillion Sector You Shouldn’t Ignore

January 26, 2022
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After decades of frugal living in rural Maine, my mother spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain a decent standard of care during her years of decline. And so might you. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

While technology has not emerged to find and reverse the root cause of diseases facing so many — dementia in the case of my mom — many founders are rising up to take on the challenges of longevity, and make the later stages of life less uncertain … even delightful. (By the way, there’s no number for when “aging” technically begins. More on that in a moment.)

Examples of AgeTech activity include the startups now going after affordable remote “monitoring,” medicine adherence, social interaction, and several other things that will help millions to choose how they live as they age — and most desirably, in their own home.

What does this have to do with you? Opportunity, actually: AARP, the nonprofit for which I work, estimates there’s a $9 trillion economy all around us. It’s ripe for innovation.

And healthcare is only part of the story: FinTech, PropTech, mobility and transportation, gaming, along with many other categories are leveling up to meet the demands of people 50-plus — and those who support and interact with them.

Healthcare is only part of the story: FinTech, PropTech, mobility and transportation, gaming, along with many other categories are leveling up to meet the demands of people 50-plus — and those who support and interact with them.

But it’s just not happening fast enough. And that’s why we just launched the AgeTech Collaborative.

It’s a business-to-business platform which sits at the intersection of longevity and technology — a new community designed to bring together the leading AgeTech startups, forward-thinking investors, enlightened industry leaders, and creative testbeds in a vibrant communal space.

As the leading social change organization empowering people to choose how they live as they age, AARP is uniquely positioned to leverage its resources and convening power to create an ecosystem that supports the process of bringing disruptive AgeTech solutions to market. We have a particular interest in industry-leading companies seeking to learn more about how to reach the AgeTech market, and where it makes the most sense to innovate and grab a piece of that expanding pie worth trillions.

Today leaders as varied as Walgreens, Twilio, and T. Rowe Price have joined scores of others — not to mention over 50 “derisked” startup companies — engaging with one another on the platform. This is where participants can find a centralized AgeTech directory of companies [a limited public version is here], testbeds, investors, and startups. It’s also where we run online events and engagements to help make vital connections that we hope will fuel the next wave of innovation around longevity.

The cost of entry? Only a commitment to engage on the topic of AgeTech by participating in the conversation and occasional events. Participants also have the opportunity to hold sessions on topics of their expertise. The hope is that leaders who want to be a part of the Collaborative will learn more about AgeTech, then maybe find investable solutions or collaborations to help them create great products and services for people across the spectrum of aging.

But just being a part of the community to learn more about the movement — and the recent surge of VC capital pushing into AgeTech, including from current participants QED Investors, PrimeTime Partners, and Cake Ventures — is an acceptable approach as well. 

While we don’t expect the Collaborative to work magic — the kind that might have dramatically changed the course of my mom’s life, and many others, for instance — we fully intend for it to be the flywheel that sends new  products into the world that can address the needs of millions, and help them live better, fuller lives (while also driving profits for those who are on board). 

If that sounds appealing, you can apply to participate here.

 

Rick Robinson is Vice President of Product and Startup Engagement at AARP. He is also an entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. (Featured image by Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash.)

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