What Is AgeTech?

AgeTech is technology that’s designed to meet the needs of older adults and those who care for them, and includes older adults (and other stakeholders) in the design process. According to estimates, the AgeTech market is expected to reach $2 trillion.

Agetech market map

The Case for AgeTech in 2022

Our world is going through an unprecedented demographic shift. Never in human history have we had so many people reach old age. Today, there are ~1 billion people over the age of 60 living on this planet, many of them are healthy and active and have discretionary income. The population over the age of 60 is growing faster than any other age group, by 2050, 20% of the world’s population (~2 billion people) will be over the age of 60.

In 2022, people who can expect to live an 80, 90 or even 100 years, can also expect to have more healthy and active years after leaving the labour market – this created new opportunities for entrepreneurs, to create offerings that will enable generations of older adults to live their best life post retirement. The increase in life expectancy also creates a new set of challenges.

For example, it might increase the gap between life expectancy and health expectancy, and also – the gap between life expectancy and wealth expectancy.

A Growing Care Gap

The increase in life expectancy is accompanied by a steady decline in birth rates, which means that in some countries, people over the age of 65 are expected to outnumber children under the age of 18 in a few years.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

These numbers create a growing care gap. Many countries are experiencing a shortage of paid caregivers, and many families feel the “caregiver burden”. In the past, when birth rates were high and life expectancy was low, older adults had many children and grandchildren who could care for them. These days, it is much more common for family caregiver to be caring for more than one older relative at the same time.

Aging In Place

Most older adults prefer to age in place – which means they want to live in their home of choice for the rest of their lives. Aging in place is defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. This can become increasingly challenging the older people get, and especially if paid or family support is scarce. Technology can help overcome these challenges, and supplement human caregiving.

The Longevity Economy

The AARP defines the term ‘Longevity Economy’, as the sum of all economic activity serving the needs of older adults. Americans over 50 spent $7.6 trillion on goods and services in 2018, this is projected to grow to $27.5 trillion by 2050. By 2030, they’re expected to spend over $200B annually on tech products.

Elderly Adopters

A common misconception is, that older adults don’t use technology. In reality, older adults have been adopting technology at increasingly growing rates in recent years. Pew Research Center as well as the AARP have been tracking the stats on tech usage among older adults in the U.S., and their data is conclusive.

Older adults are adopting technology more than ever before. Internet, smartphones, tablet, wearables, and even smart TVs and speakers, are being used by an increasingly growing number of older adults.

The Longevity Economy

Older adults also hold a significant economic power. In fact, their global spending power was expected to reach $15 trillion by 2020 – that’s similar to the GDP of China, which is the 2nd wealthiest country on earth.

The AARP defines the term ‘Longevity Economy’, as the sum of all economic activity serving the needs of older adults. Americans over 50 spent $7.6 trillion on goods and services in 2018, this is projected to grow to $27.5 trillion by 2050. By 2030, they’re expected to spend over $200B annually on tech products.

Source: AARP Longevity Economy Outlook Report 2019

The AgeTech Revolution Is Underway

More and more startups, as well as big tech companies, are building tech for older adults. These technology solutions are designed with older adults not only in mind, but also in practice. This doesn’t mean big buttons and loud audio; it means putting older adults (and other stakeholders) at the center of the design process, and aiming to meet their needs and aspirations.

Stakeholders in Aging Are Stakeholders in AgeTech

While many older adults purchase tech based products or services for themselves, some rely on family members or trusted professional advisors to help with purchasing decisions, as well as set-up and technical support.

Businesses providing care for the elderly, are also important stakeholders. Therefore B2B offerings such as resident engagement software, also fall under the AgeTech umbrella.

Stakeholders in AgeTech are not just older adults, but their entire care circle. This includes family members, governments, healthcare and other service providers, who purchase tech-based products and services, that benefit the aging population.

AgeTech Market Map Inclusion Criteria and Categories Explained

This is the fifth year the AgeTech Market Map is published. More than 200 companies made the cut. The KPIs that were used to screen companies were:Companies that develop technology specifically for older adults (or other stakeholders).

Companies that are funded or have a commercially available product.

Way back in 2017, when I set out to map the AgeTech Market, I compiled a list of companies in this market, and then sorted them into categories. As it turned out, the categories were mostly aligned with the challenges of aging. I also noticed that there were many products in which the users aren’t older adults themselves, but rather, another stakeholder, for example the caregiver. I felt that these products, while still under the AgeTech umbrella deserved their own categories.

I like to say that this market map is as diverse as the aging population. The products in it reflect the diverse needs and wants older adults have in 2022.

The Challenges of Aging

Another common misconception is that AgeTech is synonymous with accessibility tech or digital health, and while there is some overlap, there’s a lot of white space in between. This white space is occupied by tech that’s designed to help older adults achieve non health-related goals in later life – such as financial wellness or lifelong learning.

Several organizations have mapped different challenges the aging population is facing. The first was Aging 2.0. The dialogue with stakeholders from across Aging2.0’s network resulted in eight “Grand Challenges” that are the innovation priorities for the Aging2.0 community. Canada’s AGE-WELL identified eight challenges as well. Those “Challenge Areas” came out of a comprehensive review of policy priorities across governments in Canada and internationally, relating to seniors. Last but not least, the US government. Its task force detailed the six functional capabilities in which technology could have a positive impact. Those six were then broken down to 2-3 sub-functionalities each.

It is not surprising, that there are common themes to the challenges brought to light by these three different organizations. Despite the different wording, 6 common themes emerge:
  1. Finance
  2. Health
  3. Cognitive Health
  4. Social & Connectivity
  5. Mobility & Transportation
  6. Activities of Daily Living
See images below for illustration.

What Has Changed Since Last Year?

The AgeTech market has seen some interesting strategic acquisitions over the past year. Honor acquired Home Instead, OATS was acquired by the AARP and Aging2.0 was acquired by the Louisville Healthcare Council. We’ve also seen growth startups acquire smaller startups to expand to other markets, mostly for undisclosed amounts, and some newly minted unicorns. To read the full recap of what happened in AgeTech in 2021, go here.

Who’s Funding This?

Not so long ago, AgeTech startups struggled to raise funding that will get them off the ground. In the past few years, with the emergence of dedicated AgeTech funds, and growing interest from generalist funds, that is no longer the case. According to Crunchbase, 45 of the companies on the market map have raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding since early 2020, despite the pandemic.

To learn more about AgeTech funding and investments, check out this post.

Trends and Opportunities – Post Pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of many technologies. And while it is still not clear whether 2022 will be the first “post pandemic” year, it is clear that after two years of intermittent lock-downs, the world as we knew it in 2019 is long gone.

Telehealth and video calls have become ubiquitous, and AgeTech startups in other categories have also found that the demand for their offerings grew in the past two years. Online fitness and remote learning companies like Bold and GetSetUP have used the pandemic years to significantly grow their user base and raise growth funding.

Big tech companies like Amazon and Google deepened their commitment to customising their smart speakers to the needs of older adults and those who care for them, released new features and deployed thousands of smart speakers in senior living communities across the U.S.

Still, there are more opportunities than crowded categories in AgeTech in 2022. The following ones are, in my opinion, the most urgent “blockers” that truly impair people’s ability to prosper in their later years.


Most of the wonderful tech solutions included on the AgeTech market map, and everything else the internet has to offer, require high speed internet. The absence of wireless internet connectivity in the home is a major barrier the adoption of any tech among older adults. The FCC considers 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to be minimum broadband speeds. Almost half of the countries in the world have an average speed that is lower.

For older adults who live in rural areas, or don’t know what to ask of their ISP, this could mean digital exclusion. Additionally, there are many who are still not online (at all) even in the richest countries, like 22 million older Americans. Initiatives like Aging Connected might help to close the gap, but it is so big that it should be considered a blue ocean.

Smart Homes for All

For years, the lack of a universal IoT protocol was a barriers for making homes truly smart, at least for the average end-user. If you wanted to get smart “things” – you needed to read the fine print to make sure they will work with your existing hardware.

The Matter protocol promises to change that. Announced in 2019, Matter is a smart home interoperability protocol endorsed by Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, and other hardware makers. Expected to launch in the fall of 2022, this could be a game changer for AgeTech companies looking to make homes truly smart for older adults.

With device setup being a major barrier for adoption, whoever makes wearables and smart home devices that are “plug and play” could gain access and ubiquity in the homes of older adults. These days, setting up a new device requires more than wifi. You need a smartphone, and a dedicated app, and an email address to set up an account, you need to know where exactly in your home there is or isn’t wifi coverage, etc’. For many people, this is an impassable barrier, that makes devices sit in their boxes, gathering dust for months, until a family member finds the time set them up.

Financial Wellness

According to the World Bank, the number of older adults who save money for retirement varies across economies, but even in wealthy OECD countries it is only %39. Even among those who do save for retirement, many don’t have enough money saved up for 20 or 30 years of retirement. Solutions that will help them make their money last longer (similar to Retirable) and help those who are willing and able to continue working, can solve a very painful problem.

The Care Economy

A recent report by The Holding Co. found that the Care Economy is worth $648 billion. The caregiver shortage is a global crisis, with working hands in desperate need across the care continuum. According to estimates, millions of job openings that will need to be filled in the next few decades.

Source: GCOA & Home Instead report - Building The Caregiving Workforce Our Aging World Needs

Home health aids are on the top of the list of most in demand jobs in the US, yet they are at the bottom of the list when it comes to pay. Caregiving is one of the most demanding jobs in existence, both physically and emotionally, and when the pay is low, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that caregivers are quitting in favour of working in Amazon warehouses.

This is an opportunity for startups to change the power dynamics and make caregivers earn what they are worth. The scarcity of caregivers is also an opportunity for robotics and automation startups, to build products that will supplement the work of human caregivers, and could eventually replace the manual labour caregiving entails.

Imaging if we could have human caregivers focus on the aspects of caregiving that are uniquely human, like providing companionship and emotional support, while letting robots take care of the dishwashing and laundry-folding.



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