Health, Wellness & Biotech Startups Venture

From Longevity To Aging In Place, These Are The Top Areas For Senior-Focused Startups

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Anyone who follows demographic trends is probably aware that the population of older adults in the U.S. and other advanced economies is growing at an unprecedented rate. Today, roughly one in six Americans is 65 or older, and their share continues to rise.

It’s a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the startup world. Longevity-focused founders and investors have long been working to replace the notion of chronological age with biological age. Who cares about the year on your birth certificate, the thinking goes, if you’re healthy, productive and still enjoying what life has to offer?

It’s a concept that comes with quite a bit of funding attached. For the past couple years, we’ve been tracking investment in longevity-focused startups reimagining how we diagnose, prevent, manage and treat age-associated ailments.

This time around, we decided to take a broader view, looking at how startups are tackling the complexities of aging across sectors. This includes anti-aging therapies as well as business models to simplify health care, promote fitness and rev up social connection later in life.

To get a sense where investment is going, we used Crunchbase data to curate a list of companies funded this year with an aging focus. We broke the results down into four categories that encapsulate major trends: anti-aging breakthroughs, preventative medicine, fitness and managing care.

Long on longevity

We’ll start with longevity, probably the most popular theme. Here, startups are testing therapeutics, pitching supplements and working on ways to keep us biologically young, even as we add on years.

Below, we put together a list of 11 companies targeting these areas that secured funding in 2023.

The largest equity funding recipient this year was Viome, a provider of RNA-based testing for your microbiome that also offers custom-formulated supplements, with a focus on healthy aging. The Bellevue, Washington-based company secured $86.5 million in a Series C extension financing in August led by Khosla Ventures and Bold Capital Partners.

Swiss startup Rejuveron Life Sciences is also scaling up, landing a $75 million Series B in September. The company is developing therapeutics to address the foundational causes of cellular damage, which are the hallmarks of aging.

We’re also seeing continued investment in the area of epigenetics, which seeks to enable therapies through influencing gene expression. Among this year’s funding recipients is Silicon Valley-based NewLimit, co-founded by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, which picked up $40 million to further its mission of epigenetically reprogramming cells to younger states.

Early detection and preventative care

One subset of longevity that warrants its own category is early detection and preventative care. For startups in these areas, the focus is on identifying symptoms and vulnerabilities before they become more serious.

We put together a sample set of five companies funded this year below:

Here, the most famous and heavily funded name is Human Longevity, a 10-year-old, San Diego-based company that offers extensive testing to detect and help preempt cancer, cardiac, metabolic and neurodegenerative disease. The company, which has raised over $340 million to date, picked up a comparatively small $10.5 million equity financing in April.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based Alzheon has been another prodigious fundraiser in the past, with $140 million in venture and grant funding to date. The company is developing a drug for patients at risk of rapid progression of Alzheimer’s with an eye to preventing the onset of severe symptoms.

Meanwhile, Tally Health, founded by David Sinclair, a well-known expert on the science of aging, stands out as a buzzy newer company. It picked up $10 million in a celebrity-studded funding round for a platform that offers regular testing to calculate how well one is aging.

Staying fit and active

We’re also seeing an assortment of startups looking to promote fitness, group activities and greater community engagement for older adults.

Below, we list six companies along these lines that picked up funding this year:

Among them is Bold, which closed a $17 million Series A round in September to offer personalized online workout plans focused on older adults. The company claims its at-home workouts help lower fall risk and reduce joint pain.

In a similar vein, San Francisco-based Mighty Health picked up $7.6 million this year for an exercise, nutrition and daily health program for older adults that includes personalized coaching.

Managing care and finances

As people live longer — often with conditions that require more support in their latter years — startups are focusing on ways to manage care and control finances.

Using Crunchbase data, we put together a list of 13 companies with this general mantra, focused on both medical and nonmedical needs:

Aging in place is one theme we see in a number of investments, with founders applying software, AI and telemedicine to monitor health issues and keep track of well-being.

One example is CarePredict, a Florida-based startup that raised $49 million to date for an AI-powered platform and wearable device that monitors users’ health needs and sends alerts to caregivers. Tel Aviv-based Uniper-care Technologies, meanwhile, has raised over $20 million for a platform offering doctor visits, classes and other content to seniors at home.

Older adults are also looking for ways to manage complex care needs or to make sure finances are sufficient for many years to come. To this end, New York-based Wellthy raised $78 million to date for logistical and administrative tasks of managing care. On the finance side, Carefull picked up $16.5 million to help protect seniors from digital fraud, scams and identity theft.

Is it enough?

Given the sheer magnitude of societal changes that come with longer lifespans, it’s easy to get the impression that venture investment around the theme of aging looks rather paltry. That’s particularly the case this year, as the steep drop in overall startup funding has extended to startups innovating around areas from life extension to senior care.

Of course, venture has a reputation as a youth-oriented business, habitually betting on younger founders with an eye to their own generation as a target market.

But these days, given expected lifespans for those of us with good health and fortunate circumstances, one thing today’s young founder crowd can expect with relative confidence is that eventually, they too will be old. And, if all goes well, they will likely stay old for a very long time.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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