AARP has announced it is establishing a $40 million venture capital fund to invest in products and services aimed at the older adult market, primarily to improve access to health care, invest to enable aging at home and expand marketing for preventive care. AARP is a nonprofit membership organization for those 50 and older, with nearly 38 million members. It is a powerful lobbying entity and also provides AARP-branded health insurance plans.
The AARP Innovation Fund is being administered by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and will provide capital to companies that are focused on the 50 and older population.
The fund is being established to better serve older Americans who want to use technology as part of their daily lives and retirement plans, AARP stated, noting that this demographic has tremendous buying power and is responsible for $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity.
“AARP has a strong history of leading innovation by changing the marketplace,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said in a prepared statement. “Our members are disrupting aging in a variety of ways and so is AARP. The AARP Innovation Fund is the next evolution of our ability to fulfill our social mission by making sure that the needs and interest of those 50-plus are well represented by products and companies.”
AARP will make direct investments in early- to late-stage companies that are developing products for home care, improving convenience and accessibility to health care and preventive health.
Jenkins told Bloomberg Business the first priority of the fund is to help new products get to the market.
“There may or may not be returns, but this is key to serving our members who are looking for dependable solutions,” she told Bloomberg. “Aging is different than it was 10 or 20 years ago, and we need to get the private sector involved.”
The organization said it will encourage technology that enables adults to live at home longer, including home sensor activity tracking, mobile assistance, hearing and vision health, cooking solutions, physical augmentation devices and social communities. The fund will also invest in telemedicine, consumer diagnostics and care transparency tools. Within preventive health, the fund will seek to expand the market for products and services that help prevent serious health conditions.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Endowments & Foundations Group and its private equity group will not make contributions to the fund, but will source and evaluate potential investments for the fund.
“We look forward to working with AARP on this fund that will invest in and support innovative companies creating solutions for the people in this powerful and growing key demographic and their families,” Kathy Rosa, managing director and portfolio manager in J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Private Equity Group. “Our knowledge of the market combined with AARP’s expertise on the wants and needs of those 50-plus, is a powerful combination that will help the AARP Investment Fund invest in innovative companies in the consumer health care space.”
Written by Amy Baxter