SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aging2.0, a global organization whose mission is to accelerate innovation in aging, has launched the GENerator, the world’s first founders program for entrepreneurs focused on the 50+ demographic. The GENerator program provides the most promising entrepreneurs in the space with unique access to older adults, mentors, distribution channels and investors.
“The changing demographics and corresponding market opportunity are unprecedented, however there are unique barriers hindering the development and dissemination of new innovations in the aging space,” said Katy Fike, Ph.D., co-founder of Aging2.0. “Older adults, caregivers and long-term care providers are clamoring for better products and services, yet there is a chasm between the entrepreneurial community and the market. The GENerator bridges this gap.”
The founders of Aging 2.0 and the GENerator are young entrepreneurs whose personal experiences have made them passionate about improving the lives of older adults through innovation. Fike, 34, an engineer and former investment banker, switched gears in 2004 and earned her Ph.D. in gerontology from University of Southern California. Co-founder Stephen Johnston, 40, who studied Economics at Cambridge University and has an M.B.A. from Harvard, worked in the mobile industry before getting involved with dementia research and funding.
“We’re seeing more and more entrepreneurs coming into the aging space drawn by the unique combination of a huge market opportunity and the chance to do something meaningful,” said Johnston. “There are many great incubators and accelerator programs these days, however they lack the targeted consumer access, industry expertise and key stakeholder relationships necessary to help founders in aging and long-term care develop and scale their businesses.”
While many San Francisco-based startup programs set up shop in the SOMA district, the GENerator is embedded within the Institute on Aging near Golden Gate Park. The Institute is a hub of aging services, including two towers of independent living, an adult day center, a UCSF geriatric clinic as well as home care, transportation services and case management. By being immersed among older adults, clinicians and aging services providers, the GENerator program offers unparalleled access and insight into the needs and priorities of older adults, their families and those who serve them.
The 80-person GENerator Advisor network includes previously untapped experts from senior living, home care, geriatrics, Medicare health plans as well as venture capital, technology, consumer products, retail and media. Additional experts are being added based on the specific needs of the first cohort. The six-month program includes bi-weekly Founders Forums, frequent customer interaction, showcase opportunities at industry events and will conclude with a customer and investor conference in May 2014.
The GENerator’s sponsors and supporters include Home Instead Senior Care, Institute on Aging, AgeTech West, Cambia Health, Stanford Center on Longevity, ClearCare Online and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
“Home Instead is excited to be a gold sponsor of the GENerator and support the launch in this unique founders program,” said Scott Dingfield, Chief Innovation Officer of Home Instead Senior Care, the largest non-medical home care provider in the world. “Every day we see the need for more innovative products and services to support older adults and caregivers. The GENerator serves a critical role in getting these products into the hands of the people who need them more quickly.”
In addition, companies in the program will have access to the Aging2.0 research panel. These panelists, all over 50, provide invaluable input to companies through focus groups, interviews, surveys and as beta testers. (Those over 50 who are interested in joining the panel should visit www.aging2.com/panel/ for more information.)
The first GENerator cohort was carefully selected from the more than 1,000 companies that the Aging2.0 founders have met over the past two years while hosting 30 events in 10 cities around the world. The companies will be announced the week of Nov 18 and will be featured at an invitation-only event on Nov 21.
To learn more about the GENerator, visit www.aging2.com/generator.
Aging2.0 (www.aging2.com) is a global organization on a mission to accelerate innovation to improve the lives of older adults around the world. Aging2.0 connects, educates and supports innovators through regular events, the CoverAGE newsletter and the GENerator founders program. Over the past 18 months, Aging2.0 has hosted 30 events in 10 cities across three countries, cultivating a robust ecosystem of innovators including entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, investors, long-term care providers and seniors themselves.