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Jul 18, 2019

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Sorry millennials, you’re not the best start-up market

Molly Wood Sep 6, 2016
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Start-up employees working at a tech incubator. 
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Although it sometimes seems like the tech industry revolves around millennials, numbers suggest that the startup market with the most potential is a few generations senior. There are an estimated 74.9 million baby boomers, according to the Pew Research Center, and there will be an additional 53 million people over 50 in the next 20 years. With that in mind, AARP says that Americans over 50 represent the third largest economy in the world making them the biggest market opportunity for start-ups. The over-50 demographic, or the longevity market, whose annual economic activity currently amounts to $7.6 trillion, according to AARP.

Jody Holtzman, Senior Vice President of Market Innovation at AARP, spoke to Marketplace about the potential for start-ups in the baby boomer market.

On how technology can meet the needs of baby boomers:

There are several categories: products and services specifically for boomers and older people, we’re talking around health related things, financial related things. But there are also start-ups like Breezy which has provided a skin to an Android tablet that just makes it incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and the interesting there is although they targeted older people initially, what they’ve created is a product that’s easier to use for everybody.

On the challenges of addressing these consumers:

Every family is connected to this issue either through grandparents, parents. Intergenerationally, people are having challenges and experiences and looking for ways that technology and products and services can make those challenges easier. So for example, the CEO of Carelinks had a horrible family experience just trying to find a caregiver, and the classic entrepreneur stepped up by saying, “No one should have this terrible experience like we had, I am going to fix this problem.” 

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