Technology aimed at older people, whether it’s healthcare, fintech or entertainment, isn’t new, but a new community of startups, investors and global industry leaders is shedding light on what they say $8.3 trillion opportunity,
Aztec Associates T. Rowe Price from AARP is bringing together organizations such as Walgreens, Cooley and QED Investors to enhance startup products and tools and expose them to AARP’s 38 million members.
The collaborative started with 50 participating startups including Voiceit, Render, Trust & Will and Mighty Health. The companies have the leverage of six testbeds to test their products and will be able to solicit ideas from top companies with stakes in more than 10 investors and venture capitalists, more than 50 communities and service providers.
Andy Miller, AARP’s senior vice president of innovation and product development, told Nerdshala that the spending power of people over 50 is already $8.3 trillion, ie. expected to triple in 30 years,
Miller said the idea stemmed from AARP Innovation Labs, an accelerator that was attracting about 30 companies, but was not able to provide access to AARP’s membership. Instead, the organization began thinking of ways to give way to startups at scale, including finding pilot opportunities and partnering with companies willing to test products.
AARP was also getting calls from venture capital firms eager to take the organization to startups targeting the 50-plus market, as well as other accelerator programs.
“We realized there was a great need to bring this ecosystem together,” Miller said. “Within this demographic, 10,000 people turn 65 every day, and the oldest millennials turn 50 to 10. There’s a financial incentive, but it’s our social good by allowing people to age better. We can leverage the power of AARP, the ultimate connector where we have a unique vantage point across VCs, corporates and startups. If anyone should win the age-old pile, it has to be AARP. We want everyone Somebody succeed.”
Other organizations are also playing in the edge tech space, looking for the next best innovations, including Aging 2.0, while startups continue to bring in funding for a variety of products and services. For example, Bold earlier this year raised $7 million for its senior-focused fitness programs.
Meanwhile, before the global pandemic, technology was a good thing for older people, but is now “an absolute necessity to live their best lives,” he said. From scanning QR codes to access a restaurant menu to telemedicine appointments with doctors, older people needed to become more comfortable with technology.
In addition to those two areas, Miller sees innovations in categories like voice, working with Voiceit technology to decipher the grunts and sounds that translate into turning on the lights, and fintech. With products like Intergenerational Financial Planning.
Fintech is also one of the areas that Nigel Morris, Managing Partner at QED Investors, is eyeing.
He said that there is a need to understand the retirement options and find out whether they will give money to their children and people are no longer retiring at the age of 60 and going to the beach, but rather taking advantage of the gig economy. Will pick up
QED invests in four age-old tech companies, including Freewill, Software for Managed Giving, and TrueLink, which helps caregivers manage finances.
“Companies are thinking about this problem, and it’s time,” Morris said. “This population is not classically quiet and is overlooked because many investors do not understand the population. There is a lot of opportunity and AARP is great to have it together. Being a founding member is a feather for us.”