The movement to build technology for seniors has never been stronger. We found a story about Silicon Valley’s efforts to develop a wide-range of products for a growing market that is expected to expand from a $2 billion to 20 billion dollar industry by 2020.
The story follows June Fisher (81), a retired product design lecturer at Stanford who advises companies who want to build technologies that address the needs of older people. You can call her a senior adviser.
“Frequently the (technology) design (for seniors) looks like a hospital,” said Fisher. “I’ve spent enough time in hospitals. I want products to be beautiful.” Fisher believes it takes more than making apps with larger buttons. “My iPad is attached to me. I use it for everything,” Fisher said. “But the layout isn’t always obvious for older people; it can be extremely frustrating.”
Fisher has advised companies like Lift Hero (an Uber-type service for seniors), a pill reminder app and a travel brand for older adults. She is also the chief elder executive at Aging 2.0, an event series and social network produced by Generator Ventures, a company developing new technology for older people.
“We really have seen the quantity and quality of startups in the space increase,” said Katy Fike of Generator Ventures. Many people are getting involved with the senior tech market because of their experience with an aging loved one. “There’s a lot of (founders and funders) in their 40s and 50s who are starting to butt up against this system for their own parents and seeing a lot of things missing,” Fike said.
One tech company making headlines is the eldercare site Caring.com, which recently sold for $54 million while other companies are currently developing a variety of lifestyle products from a ride-sharing service to an online dating site for seniors.
Mary Furlong, who runs the “What’s Next Boomer Business Summit,” believes older people don’t just want technology that helps them deal with aging. “They want “technology to help you improve and manage your life,” she said.
Read the story here.