Adds Kevin Collins, head of retirement plan services at T. Rowe Price: “One of our priorities … is to provide accelerated digital solutions that are personalized, easy and integrated to help retirement savers achieve the outcomes they desire. The AgeTech Collaborative will give us the opportunity to increase our exposure to innovative solutions in this emerging space.”
AARP is also receiving applications from organizations such as health care systems, long-term care facilities and universities that can provide settings where start-ups can test and validate their products and ideas.
Businesses invited to apply
Working with start-ups is nothing new for AARP, but the collaborative isn’t open to just anyone. Start-ups that want to join must apply to compete in one of the 15 or so Shark Tank-like pitch challenges that AARP now hosts annually around such themes as financial wellness, transportation and women’s health. Companies that win these competitions or otherwise make a positive impression can be invited into an eight-week accelerator program where they can connect with other start-ups, dive into research, discover insights about the older demographic and gain access to the collaborative’s community platform.
The collaborative publishes blog posts and news updates related to its companies and on technology related to aging and 50-plus consumers generally. And it hosts virtual and in-person events for participants at which founders may talk about weathering the early stages of being a start-up. Information about the participants is available in a searchable directory.
AARP is also taking a stake in some of the start-ups, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
“We only invest in things that tie to our social missions,” which include caregiving, health care, housing, savings and planning, and work and jobs, says Andy Miller, AARP’s senior vice president of innovation and product development. Any money earned from AARP’s investments ultimately will flow back into the organization to serve the nonprofit’s goals.
“This is us punching out into the world and saying, ‘This is age tech, this is a really important space, and we’re going to lead it and bring people along,’ ” Robinson says. “The AgeTech Collaborative is part of AARP’s endeavor to command the space we occupy.”
This story, originally published on Nov. 15, 2021, has been updated to reflect more recent information on start-ups, pitch competitions and financing.