A few times a year I get to interact with the best and the brightest at various senior focused conferences and summits.

A few times a year I get to interact with the best and the brightest at various senior focused conferences and summits. Mary Furlong, founder of Mary Furlong and Associates puts on the Silicon Valley Boomer Summit where she brings together people who have (or think they have) the next great idea for a product or service that will appeal to seniors and gives them an opportunity to meet and pitch their ideas to people who have money and are inclined to invest in these kinds of ventures.  It is an odd and cool thing to be able to rub shoulders with some of the most innovative people in the world on one side and people who control buckets of money on the other side.  It was particularly fun because I got to meet a couple of people that I have been connected with by phone and email and some others I only get to see once or twice a year.

Teachable Moment, if I may . . .  If I were to go back and do my career life over again, I would have spent a lot more time going to conferences and meeting people. Today I am pretty good at going to a conference walking up to a stranger and saying, “I am Steve Moran, who are you and what do you do?”  Once in a while I get rebuffed, but not all at often (at most once or twice in a conference) and I have hundreds of great connections because I took the time . . . took the risk.   I promise that if you ever see me at a conference, please know I will be the most approachable person at the conference.

  The conference is an interesting mix of presentations by industry experts, people who have successfully launched new senior facing companies and people who invest in these kinds of ventures.  There were also experts who presented their views/understanding/research on the senior/boomer marketplace.   The highpoint of the conference was the business plan competition where 5 entrepreneur groups presented their company business plan in 5 minutes, to a panel of leaders in aging and venture capital.   The top prize is $10,000, except that the real top prize is the opportunity to tell your story to a big group of people who might be willing to invest in your idea.  This year’s winner was  Resido Medical a company that has developed a device that reduces tremors without drugs or risky invasive surgery (A story is coming on this technology).  

Some Interesting Stuff from the Presentations

  • The workforce is changing.  People are staying in the workforce longer, initially it was because people loved their jobs, for others because these older workers wanted to give back to the community and more recently because people need the pay check.
  • More Boomers are starting their own businesses, because once you pass say the age 50 mark it becomes harder to find a position with an existing company.  It is relatively cheap to start a business and they want to be their own boss.  The question is how do we as providers of senior housing meet these entrepreneur’s needs?
  • Boomers as they age will with respect to technology behave more like the 18+ population.  
  • The 50+ crowd represents ¼ of all iPad sales.
  • The 50+ crowd is less likely to see price as a reason to not buy technology.
  • If you are an entrepreneur and looking for venture money here is what they like:
    • Aging with Vitality
    • Vital Sign Monitoring
    • Care Navigation
    • Physical Fitness
    • Social Engagement
    • The Jobs Act has a provision for using crowd funding to sell up to $1 million in debt or equity, but the regulations are not yet

There are at least two reasons to pay attention to events like this:

  1. These events provide a different perspective on the aging market.  It is a way to understand how other segments of the aging marketplace are viewing our target market.
  2. It provides early visibility into products that might be just “the thing”, that will make the lives of our seniors better.

 Below is a random slideshow from the summit.   Steve Moran