The future is bright for the 50+ market in Colorado. A combination of private and public participation has the potential to bring in new competition, innovative ideas, and a slew of new products and services—to the benefit of not just older residents, but all Coloradans.
The number of 65+ Coloradans is projected to increase 68 percent by 2030, making it home to the third-fastest growth in the nation. The state is leveraging public and private efforts to embrace the opportunities this presents. Local government is raising awareness of its efforts with older adults and businesses, and collaboration and communication among stakeholders have grown steadily throughout this decade.
With a wealth of established organizations in the aging sector (see the Colorado resource map), along with an abundance of entrepreneurs, a burgeoning tech startup community and a long history of innovation, Colorado is poised to be a national leader in the 50+ market.
Most risk-capital funds have yet to specifically target the longevity space. Nationwide, startups aimed at 65+ customers only attract about 0.7 percent of today’s venture capital.
At the same time, some of the largest consumer brands are racing to capture the longevity market. For instance, Gillette is selling a newly designed razor to older sons who are now caring for, and shaving, their elderly fathers. Proctor & Gamble’s Venture Studio is targeting categories related to the needs of older adults, including pain management, menopause and chronic skin conditions.
Key practice areas in Colorado’s business community such as digital health, tele-medicine, healthcare, wellness and life sciences are already trending toward serving older adults and caregivers.
“It’s a no brainer that more investment should be going into the longevity space,” said Dave Harris, Director of Operations for Rockies Venture Club and Managing Partner with Rockies Venture Fund and Rockies Impact Fund.
“We can find the high-growth businesses that can make money and do good at the same time. Those businesses can become more sophisticated faster thanks to strategic partnerships, and the foundations and organizations that are already in Colorado’s aging sector.”
Indeed, Colorado’s venture capital firms, angels and incubators are collaborating with investors around the country and tracking longevity-related categories. Homegrown age-tech startups already funded within Colorado’s sphere of entrepreneurial support include Routinify, Nymbl and Inhabitech.
A groundswell of early-stage support also is flowing throughout academia, national labs, medical research communities and state government. The Colorado Venture Capital Authority, Blackstone Private Equity’s Entrepreneurial Network and others are waking up to the need for care solutions that allow seniors to age in place with the highest quality of life. Also thriving in Colorado: risk capital dedicated to funding the next generation of disruptive technologies.
Silicon Valley has not yet captured the longevity space, so there’s opportunity for other locales. For Colorado to become the geography of choice for age-tech investments, it needs to leverage its favorable position quickly. With continued focus, innovation and capital, the state can gain category expertise and successfully position itself as the longevity economy leader for tech.