As Liz Hamburg’s parents got older, they left her more and more messages asking for help with the technology they use to function day-to-day—from passwords to email, smart phones to Amazon’s Alexa.
Hamburg looked for services to assist them but struggled to find anything designed for aging adults like her mother and father. So, she took matters into her own hands.
She started Candoo Tech
, a company that provides tech support and lessons specifically for older Americans. Candoo’s “tech concierges” help their clients figure out how to navigate their devices, install software, and evaluate new products, enabling older people to use technology to meet their needs, whether it’s talking to their grandkids through FaceTime or signing up for their COVID-19 vaccines online.
Candoo Tech is one of a growing number of companies helping Americans stay independent, connected, and safe as they age. It’s also a graduate of the first class of the Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator
What is the Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator?
Pivotal Ventures and Techstars launched the accelerator
in 2020 to support startup companies delivering innovative solutions to address the unmet needs of older adults and their caregivers.
Now, Techstars and Pivotal Ventures are preparing to select the next class of companies to participate in the accelerator from November 2021 to February 2022.
Companies can apply to participate in the accelerator at this link through July 28.
Led by new Managing Director Keith Camhi, an experienced Techstars senior executive and venture-backed entrepreneur, the upcoming accelerator will assist companies working to address major challenges for older Americans like how to promote financial security, coordinate care, and stay in their own homes as they age.
Over the course of 13 weeks, the program will connect 10 selected companies with a network of mentors and investors. It will also provide companies with funding, fundraising opportunities, curated workshops, and peer learning experiences.
The first class
of companies finished the program last December, and the results have been promising.
For example, Candoo Tech has increased revenue, been featured in major media outlets, and secured new partnerships to expand its reach. Braze Mobility
, which has developed sensors to make wheelchairs safer, won an award at the AARP Aging in Place innovation challenge, recruited an experienced new head of business development, and received funding from the prestigious Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation. And ConnectCareHero
, a digital platform providing activities like cooking and gardening classes to older adults, closed an oversubscribed funding round and has increased its range of services aimed at reducing social isolation.
Why do we need more innovation to support older adults and their caregivers?
The pandemic has shined a light on the urgent need for innovation in how our country cares for older Americans.
More than 70 million Americans are part of the baby boomer generation, and an average of 10,000 people in the U.S. turn age 65 every day. Yet America’s caregiving system has not kept pace with demand. Millions of older people don’t have the support they need to lead dignified, independent lives on their own terms. Many are isolated, vulnerable, and reliant on grown children or other loved ones to meet their basic needs.
While the challenge is huge, so is the market opportunity. In fact, it’s an estimated $131 billion, the size of the global gaming industry. And it’s going to grow as more Americans age—making it all the more important to bring together entrepreneurs with good ideas and investors with resources to bring those ideas to life.
Pivotal helped launch the Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator to better connect the two sides of this equation, and it’s working. After going through the accelerator program, Osvaldo Montelongo, the CEO of ConnectCareHero, said: “The Techstars Future of Longevity program and mentors (whom we still meet with) helped us with everything from successfully fundraising to entering the homecare market to strategically positioning our business for growth
Now, it’s time for the next class of gamechangers. We’re ready for applicants. Older Americans are ready for solutions. And the care economy is ready for growth.
Photo by Fred Froese | Getty Images