AARP Eye Center
Many people age 50 and older are savvier about technology than they're often given credit for.
They use technology daily in the workplace and at home. Social media has exposed them to marketing for new devices and apps. Plus the coronavirus pandemic forced them to adapt quickly to ideas they might have been hesitant to try even a couple of years ago.
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“And they’re expecting products and services that meet that level of sophistication,” says Rick Robinson, vice president and general manager at AARP’s AgeTech Collaborative.
Older adults spend trillions on what they want, need
To be sure, the companies lending their time, money and expertise also see dollar signs. Recent research from AARP shows that the 50-plus market — what it calls the longevity economy — contributed $45 trillion to the global economy in 2020, and that’s expected to reach $118 trillion by 2050.
Many of the more than 90 start-ups involved in the collaborative are seeking access to financing that for some may have been out of reach. AgeTech start-ups run the gamut. Participants include:
- Braze Mobility, which makes blind spot sensors for wheelchairs.
- Camino, which has come up with what it refers to as the world’s first “smart” walker.
- Gameboard, maker of a social tabletop gaming console.
- Mighty Health, a company that says it has developed joint-friendly, low-impact fitness workouts.
- MindMics, whose wireless earbuds double as a heart monitor.
- Rendever, a virtual reality firm that aims to tackle social isolation.
- Trust & Will, an estate planning service.
- Voiceitt, which developed an app to help people with nonstandard speech be heard.
CVS Health Ventures, QED Investors and Revolution Ventures are among the lenders on AgeTech’s venture capital and investing side. Global law firm Cooley; MassChallenge, a global network for innovators who are working to solve massive challenges; the National Association of Realtors; investment management firm T. Rowe Price; and pharmacy chain Walgreens also have joined the collaborative.
“There is a pressing need for products and services that help people make informed choices about how they live as they get older,” says Nigel Morris, cofounder of Capital One Financial Services. He’s now managing partner of QED Investors, which focuses investments on financial technology companies. “We want people to make better financial decisions, save for retirement and feel empowered to have financial resiliency. That is why we’re so excited by the efforts of AARP’s AgeTech Collaborative.”