StartUp Health, AARP partner to advise startups on seniors

By Jonah Comstock

CaremergeStartUp Health has announced a new partnership with AARP as part of AARP's Innovation@50+ program which began at the end of 2011.

AARP will sponsor a new track of StartUp Health research focused on digital health products and services for people 50 and older, as well as master classes for StartUp companies. AARP will sponsor StartUp Health's quarterly reports.

StartUp Health spokesperson Nicole Kinsey told MobiHealthNews in an email that there are currently seven companies enrolled in the StartUp Health Academy focused specifically on the 50+ market, with several more whose products are applicable to that market. In addition, more than 200 companies in the greater StartUp Health network are focused on the aging population.

"We are thrilled to be able to work with StartUp Health to develop a world-class curriculum to educate and inspire more health tech entrepreneurs to focus on innovation for the aging population," Jody Holtzman, Senior Vice President of Thought Leadership of AARP said in a statement. "Together, we will help focus a generation of innovators to think about developing solutions that will improve health and wellness for the 50+ community. Today, tens of millions of people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s are leading longer, healthier, more productive lives. They’re beginning to wake up to this new longevity—and what it means in their lives."

The company's partnership with AARP may affect their selection of companies going forward, StartUp Health co-founder Unity Stoakes told MobiHealthNews in an email.

"We definitely intend to invite more companies into StartUp Health Academy who are focusing on developing solutions that will benefit our aging population," he wrote. "Additionally, we will work to inspire and educate the entire ecosystem about opportunities that startups can focus on for this market so more businesses are addressing the current needs."

"One of the things we focus on at StartUp Health is pairing the innovation happening in startups with the real market needs," he continued. "We think the result will speed the cycles of innovation and bring better solutions for people who need them."

AARP's Innovation@50+ initiative isn't just limiting its support to one accelerator. The group is also a sponsor of Rock Health's CEO Summit next month.

We'll be curious to see whether the AARP's increasing partnerships in health accelerators will also encourage more boomers and seniors to become digital health entrepreneurs.