General Catalyst principal Addie Lerner spent this past spring talking to 30 founders, advisors, and investors about the $350 billion elder care market.
The conversations gave her perspective on what’s still missing, and how entrepreneurs and investors can address it.
In particular, she’s interested in finding companies that tackle financial planning solutions for handling the cost of long-term elderly care, as well as companies that are directing content and programming toward the elderly population.
Addie Lerner’s interest in finding new companies that care for the aging population is personal.
Lerner’s grandmother, Mimi, is 91 years old, and over the years, she watched as her grandmother’s quality of life has diminished, leaving her with poor vision and bound to a wheelchair or armchair. At the same time, Lerner’s watched her mom and aunt spend their time and resources making sure she’s taken care of and financially supported.
Caring for the elderly population — even for seniors who are relatively healthy — can be expensive, and home healthcare visits aren’t covered by Medicare and Medicaid, the government-run plans that oversee healthcare for the elderly.
“That really got me thinking, how come no companies —let alone technology companies – are solving the pain points that all of these different stakeholders face in the industry?” said Lerner, a principal at venture firm General Catalyst.
So this past spring, she went around talking to 30 founders, operators, advisors, and investors to get a better sense of the $350 billion elder care market. From those conversations, she realized that there were three challenges to starting a new company catering to seniors.
To start, a lot of it requires human-to-human interaction, like helping with daily chores or preparing food. That’s a hard process to automate, Lerner said.
Introducing new technology to an older population is also difficult, though that might start to change as tech-savvy Baby Boomers age into the elderly population.
Marketing is also a challenge — the folks who need the care or are paying for it aren’t necessarily on social media, so marketing like a mattress startup might not be the most successful approach. Existing companies, like elder care facilities and home health agencies, often don’t have excess cash to spend on new technology, she found.
So far, General Catalyst hasn’t made a direct investment in an elder care company. Coming out of those conversations, Lerner noted some of the opportunities tech companies could have in the market.
In particular, she said she’d like to see companies tackle financial planning solutions, which might make it easier to pay for long-term care. While people are living longer, healthcare costs are also on the rise.
“People need to start planning for those expenses a lot sooner and save a lot more money for it,” Lerner said.
The second is around content and programming to keep seniors engaged — both for those who are recently retired and those closer to her grandma’s age.
“She has really no content or programming geared toward her,” Lerner said. Ideally, there’d …read more
Source:: Business Insider