Disrupting Eldercare

PART II: Eldercare’s Areas of Opportunities

In Part I of this piece, I explored a number of “personas” underserved by the companies and solutions in today’s eldercare market. In Part II below, I’ll dig into the size of the eldercare market, identify solution gaps, explore opportunities where new tech-enabled businesses can drive change, and outline why now is the right time for such companies to emerge.

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  • Increasing life expectancies — for example, a 65 year old woman today can expect to live to 86, 11 years longer than in 1900, and
  • Rising costs of medical and ADL (Activities of Daily Life) care (driven in part, counterintuitively, by technological advances in medicine).
  • The cost of online customer acquisition is high: more than $1,000 per customer for lead-gen companies like A Place for Mom.
  • Other end markets are rife with their own difficulties: assisted living and independent living facilities are fragmented and burdened by slow sales cycles, outdated technology infrastructures and budget constraints. The payors in this market — Medicare and Medicaid — have limited financial resources to put towards new technologies or solutions — unless they rapidly and demonstrably drive down costs.
  1. Older adults are less comfortable using technology — while this will improve over time as today’s tech-savvy baby boomers age, they, too, will suffer from the inevitable deterioration of vision and hearing that will make using technology challenging.
  • Care Coordination: Companies have emerged to serve the “Overburdened Family Member” persona we explored in Part I. Companies like Wellthy (outsourced care coordinator + tools dashboard), Trusty.care (originally a high-end concierge care and marketplace for care-coordination services, has since pivoted) and Samada (online content for end of life care) have struggled to find the right go-to-market channels given the lack of willingness for this consumer to pay for tools that would be only incremental to her care coordination, and a lack of ability to pay for a high end fully outsourced care concierge. Wellthy shifted to selling to selling to employers as a benefit, with the value proposition of ultimately reducing employees’ time away from work; however, the HR benefits space is crowded. There are a few companies that have emerged which offer direct-to-consumer point solution services and products such as for estate planning (Willing, Tomorrow). If the markets for these point solutions develop, they may be able to build an “end of life” brand in this space that extends to all parts of care coordination and end-of-life planning.
  1. Content and Programming for Seniors and the Elderly: Much of the white space here centers around “things to do” for newly-retired seniors (aged 55–75) as well as the elderly (older than 75). I think a platform that emerges to create or aggregate that content would fill an important need in the space, and could quickly grow to be a big business. Consider a video platform that curates existing educational and entertainment content (i.e. MITx courses, TED talks, Jeopardy games) and delivers it through facilities for in-person group content experiences, or direct-to-consumer via an easy-to-use interface (or via an iPad, for the tech-savvy). For boomers, instructional content for new skills to drive supplemental income could offer a more meaningful and engaging way to spend time. For both groups, programming that fosters social interaction would help prevent isolation and loneliness, which have adverse effects on both mental and physical health. However, any type of programming that occurs offline, and/or that requires local coordination, will be difficult to scale.

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Collaborating with incredible early and growth stage founders as a Principal at General Catalyst in NYC (@gcvp)

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