First aging services tech investment fund debuts in Israel

Mediterranean Towers Ventures of Ganei Tikva, east of Tel Aviv, has launched an investment fund dedicated to supporting technologies that support quality of life–health, culture, and leisure–for older adults.  Co-CEO Dov Sugarman, via email to this Editor, confirmed that the venture fund is limiting itself for the time being to Israel-based companies in pre-seed and seed stages, although some later stage investments may be considered. They are “open to all opportunities in the aging tech space”. Interested companies should review their website and apply for funding here.

While Israel is statistically a young country, with only 11 percent or 900,000 aged 65 and over, this number is expected to increase to 1.3 million by 2025. At present, 25 percent of households have a member over 65, and because of this distribution, there is a substantial support network of supportive and adult housing. The venture fund grew out of Mediterranean Towers’ main business as a leading publicly traded provider of retirement housing. 

The venture capital group is headed by Dr. Yael Benvenisti, who is the chair of the SIG Technologies of Aging Well (Society of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in Israel), a member of the board of the Israel Association of Gerontology and an advisor to government bodies. Mr. Sugarman is the CEO of Aging2.0 Israel and founder of the third-generation technologies sector at JDC-Israel. (‘3rd generation’, ‘3rd tech’, and ‘third age’ are common expressions for aging and related tech in Israel.) ReleaseThe Marker (in Hebrew)

LeadingAge CAST updates its telehealth selection portfolio (US)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/LeadingAge_Square_Logo_Large.jpg” thumb_width=”100″ /]LeadingAge, the association of over 6,000 non-profit providers of aging services (the US chapter of IAHSA), this week issued an updated version of its telehealth selection portfolio, adding six new products to the online selection tool and product matrix, in addition to a new interactive guide (requires log in). Developed by their Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), the selection tool and product matrix exhaustively compare 28 different products from 23 vendors across 220 different functionalities. An indispensable help for those involved in the selection and purchasing of telehealth for senior housing, post-discharge/rehabilitation and home health. LeadingAge release. Hat tip to Scott Code of CAST.

Now a VC concentrating on tech for older adults (US)

Don’t call it a trend yet, but Ohio’s Link-age Ventures Inc. is launching a $26.6 million venture capital fund to invest in startup to early-stage companies targeting products, services and technologies for the 55+ market. The 50 percent partner is a familiar name to those in the US non-profit senior community sector, Ziegler Companies, along with 70 non-profit senior communities (!) as limited partners. The Ziegler Link-age Longevity Fund will look to invest about $500,000 to several million dollars apiece in 10-12 companies engaged in aging in place, care coordination, disease prevention, readmission reduction and wellness strategies. An investment announcement may come in late summer. The US heartland demonstrates a different trend than the relentlessly DH3, youth-oriented West Coast and the mixed messages out of the New York-Boston corridor. Cincinnati Business Courier

Looking at the future of ‘aging services’

In the US aging services is defined as the combination of public and private support older adults need as they age, encompassing healthcare, housing, transportation, nutrition etc. What will they be like in the future? Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT AgeLab, spoke on a panel at the American Society on Aging’s recent General Session on the Future of Aging on how aging services will change to meet the four points of ‘new’ summarized in his BigThink article: the new consumer (quite different than the present old), new technology (robot companions, proactive sensing of health changes, connective communications), new strategic partnerships (public-private, retailers, senior housing providers, financial services) and the new aging services professional (a blend of technologist, gerontologist, social worker, clinician, business person and holistic care provider.)  For those with institutional or library access, the Oxford Journals Public Policy & Aging Report has two additional articles by Mr. Coughlin expanding on these points.

Engaging with aging tech

LeadingAge, the main association for non-profit ‘aging services’ providers, hosted a ‘hackathon’ of sorts called HackFest at its annual convention last week. Eight international teams of students were given a 24 hour challenge to come up with an idea and create a prototype application, device or website. The winner was Team Global EngAge who developed a platform for retirement communities to offer their activities–book clubs, religious services and clubs–online so that home-bound elderly can participate via video conferencing. The purpose of the hackathon was to focus on technology needs in senior services and was sponsored by investor Ziegler and Asbury Communities. Unfortunately neither McKnights or LeadingAge list or explore the seven other concepts, which would have been interesting as all these teams can look to further develop and fund their ideas.