Venture Capitalists Focus on Seniors

In the past, veteran serial venture capital leader Alan Patricof, 85, early on saw the potential of powerhouse companies like Bumble and Venmo. However, his personal experience with one of aging’s biggest challenges – his wife’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s 11 years ago – brought home to him the problems of older people and the products and services they need as they age.

That’s why Patricof teamed with Abby Miller Levy, formerly of Thrive Global, to create Primetime Partners, a $32 million venture capital fund, specifically to finance products and services for an aging population and to invest in older entrepreneurs.

His latest idea lines up with current demographic trends that show seniors gaining ground in numbers and rate of increase, as the story published by Bloomberg (read it here) details. Venture capitalists like Patricoff and entrepreneurs are focusing more attention on the fastest growing age cohort in the past ten years – people over 65.  (The U.S. Census Bureau noted that the number of people over 65 has grown by a third, or almost 14 million people, since 2010.)

Primetime Partners co-founder Levy notes that other venture capitalists have been slow to respond to the so-called “Silver Tsunami” of older consumers. She told Bloomberg.  “The question we’ve often been asked is ‘Why aren’t other VCs doing this?’ I think the reality is that when you don’t understand the market that well, you’re hesitant.”

The hope is that older people, thanks to their embrace of technology in the wake of the epidemic, are becoming more visible to marketers, and for more than just medications. The good news is that the new VC fund’s founders have already made four investments with their own money that they will transfer to Primetime Partners; they will focus on early stage investments of between $250,000 and $1 million.

Even better – while they are currently working with younger entrepreneurs, the fund plans to reach out to entrepreneurs in their 50’s and 60’s as well – so if you have a business – or even just a business idea, it’s time to start your engines.  Senior Planet hosts an online Work/Entrepreneur Discussion group on Thursdays.  Learn more here.




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