Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Experts in Marketing to Baby Boomers Convene at Santa Clara University June 16 – 17

Entrepreneurs and investors looking to ride the current over-45 demographic wave will convene next week at Santa Clara University for the 2009 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit & Business Plan Competition. The event is sponsored by Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and strategic business/communications firm Mary Furlong & Associates.

Among the topics on the program for the two-day event: financing a boomer-focused business; top 10 business-plan mistakes; social marketing to boomers, and lessons from entrepreneurs on marketing strategies, and methods to “scale’’ a business.

Top venture investors will share with attendees their financing priorities for the boomer and senior markets, what current research says about the market, and which areas are ripe for innovation and new product development.

For more information about the program, please visit www.scuboomerventure.com.

“We have recruited some of the most experienced experts on the baby boomer market to present during our program and to judge our business plans,” said Mary Furlong, boomer market analyst and event producer. “These people are passionate about business and new ventures that address the 45+ consumer market, and will share their thoughts on successful businesses as well as select the winning plan.”

The event will conclude with business-plan and elevator-pitch presentations, in which finalists will present their business ideas to a panel of judges. Winners receive a $10,000 grand prize or $1,000 for best elevator pitch.

Competition judges include:

  Amy Belt, Advanced Technology Ventures
  Andy Donner, Physic Ventures
  Jeannette de Noord, InnovationPoint
  Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave
  Elizabeth Ford, Santa Clara University
  Onne Ganel, Edwards Lifesciences
  Jody Holtzman, AARP
  Joshua Raffaeli, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  Nancy Kamei, Intel Capital
  Nate McLemore, Microsoft Health Solutions Group
  Shinobu Toyoda, Sega
  Jack Young, Qualcomm Ventures
  Peter Ziebelman, Palo Alto Venture Partners

The finalists in the business-plan competition who submitted plans in the areas of biodesign, medical devices, geriatrics, and gerontology are:

  Aaron Nelson, Audiallo
  Erika Palmer, HemRx Medical
  Jared Garfield, J & J Solutions
  Karen Routt, Magnolia Prime
  Kevin Chao, Miret
  Thanguy Chau, Novophage Therapeutics

Finalists for best elevator pitch are:

  Laura Nuhaan, FamiliLink
  Carrie Shores, Larson Shores Architects Inc.
  Heather Steven, Life at Home Longer
  Chris Clark, The Senior List
  John Smilgin, Traveling4Health

For more information about these the finalists, please visit http://www.scuboomerventure.com/B-Plan%20Competition_index.html


Younger Boomers Helping Drive Twitter Growth

twitter-chart1Have we finally broken the cylce of early technology adoption always begins with the younger generation? The latest Comscore numbers show strong use of Twitter by younger boomers.



It is the 25-54 year old crowd that is actually driving the growth trend. More specifically, 45-54 year olds are 36 percent more likely than average to visit Twitter, making them the highest indexing age group,.  They are followed by 25-34 year olds, who are 30 percent more likely. 

And even the leading edge boomers seem to be more attracted to twitter than the younger crowd. 

Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February, up an impressive 700+% vs. year ago. The past two months alone have seen worldwide visitors climb more than 5 million visitors. U.S. traffic growth has been just as dramatic, with Twitter reaching 4 million visitors in February, up more than 1,000% from a year ago, according to ComScore.

It’s another reason for companies targeting boomers to take a look at adding Twitter to their marketing mix.

posted by Laura Rossman

Baby Boomer RV Dreams Keep Industry Optimistic

There are now about 8.2 million RV owners across the nation, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Unlike the stereotype of older couples hitting the road after retirement, the average RV owner is middle-aged and married, traveling a total of 4,500 miles and 26 days annually.

The industry is betting on an expected increase in new buyers entering the market, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

“Baby boomers have had a really large impact on the industry already. They represent the largest group of owners in the industry,” Mark Polk, owner of RV Education 101, an education program that publishes how-to books and videos for newcomers to the RV lifestyle, told CNBC.

RV companies have been anticipating the influx in potential customers for awhile.

“All along, for the last four or five years, we’ve known the baby boomer population is coming. Every month there will be 350,000 potential customers in the baby boomers through 2030,” said Winnebago CEO Bob Olson.  “There is a potential opportunity for our customer base to grow. A portion of them will want to join the RV lifestyle. This bodes well for us in the future.”

posted by Laura Rossman

Aging at Home Gets Push from GE and Intel

Any doubt that technology that helps you age at home should be brushed aside with the annoucnement  that Intel and GE are joining forces on home health care. Clearly the aging of the baby boom population is getting the attention of big companies and big dollars.

GE and Intel are joining forces to develop devices that help your doctor monitor the health of elderly and chronically ill patients at home.  The companies are putting more than $250 million behind research and marketing.

This is a clear signal that more of us will be receiving long-term care at home in the future rather than in a facility.  That’s good news since that’s where most of us say we want to stay! If you attended the Boomer Summit you probably heard Laurie Orlov  from Age  in Place Technology Watch talk about the potential growth in this market.

GE has a system called Quiet Care that lets physicians monitor patients for potential emergencies or waning signs, including falls.  Intel has a product called Health Guide, a lap-top sized device that collects vital signs and issues patient reminders.

We are at an inflection point on health care,” Paul Otellini, Intel’s chief executive, said Thursday during a press conference announcing the alliance. “It’s a topic that affects everyone on Earth.”

SilverRide Wins ASA Business of the Year Award

SilverRide, LLC, a San Francisco-based company providing transportation, companionship and social events for seniors, won the American Society on Aging (ASA) 2009 Business of the Year award.

Each year, ASA recognizes one small business for its originality, innovation, and effectiveness in meeting the needs of seniors. SilverRide was selected as the national winner in the small company category for its exemplary program and services that meet the needs of older adults and their families.

Robert Stein, President & CEO of ASA, said “SilverRide exemplifies what a company can do if they set their minds to solving tough problems in creative ways. Not only have they addressed a major need with a great transportation solution, but they’ve also created services that improve the quality of life of older adults by enabling them to get out, socialize and enjoy the things they love to do”.

In addition to providing transportation to older adults, SilverRide enables its clients to have a more connected, fulfilling, dignified and independent lifestyle after their “driving retirement,” while providing peace of mind to those who care for them. It can even positively impact long-term health and quality of life.

Susan Steiner Saal and Jeff Maltz, Co-Founders of SilverRide, said, “It’s an honor to receive this award from ASA. We both watched our parents struggle to manage the needs of our grandparents. When we hear from our clients that SilverRide has solved a real problem for them, it is a reward in and of itself!”

According to the American Public Transportation Association, when older adults stop driving there can be a number of serious negative consequences. They make 15% fewer trips to the doctor and 65% fewer trips for social, family and religious activities.

In fact, The Journals of Gerontology reports that elderly non-drivers are four to six times more likely than their driving counterparts to pass away during the subsequent 3-year period. This devastating outcome is due to the fact that for older adults, their ability to drive provides independence that leads to underlying health and well-being.

SilverRide provides its clients with access to crucial health-related and social services that would not otherwise be as easily available.

SilverRide Provides its Members With a Social Connection That
Other Transportation Services Do Not

The relationship between the client and the driver distinguishes SilverRide from other transportation services. SilverRide conducts an extensive interview with its clients ahead of time to better understand their particular needs. It also trains its drivers in senior sensitivity and safety on an ongoing basis. This process forges a rich relationship between the client and their driver companions, who bring their own unique personalities to the table. The SilverRide drivers include an inventor, a pastor, a film producer and several graduate students in psychology and gerontology.

Also exceptional to SilverRide is its ongoing communication with its clients’ families, whose work and familial responsibilities or distance from their aging parents may prevent them from caring for them full-time. SilverRide’s on-going communication and breadth of services help reduce this anxiety.

SilverRide joins an esteemed roster of previous winners including Jitterbug, Posit Science, Johnson & Johnson and CVS/pharmacy.

For more information, visit www.silverride.com or contact press@silverride.com.


Baby Boomer Word for 2009 – Recalibration

Recalibration— that’s the theme for consumers in 2009 as consumers reset the scales after a decade of dualities, highs and lows, according to Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Consumers are designing the “Middle Way” defined as a lifestyle approach grounded in comfort, safety, sustainability and moderation.  and boomers are leading the charge!

For marketers, it is important to understand how boomer paradigms are shifting, said French at the opening session of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.  Here’s how attitudes are shifting:

From consumption to sustainability

From possessions to purpose

From retirement to employment

From trading up to trading off

From perceived value to real value

The findings were based upon research conducted in January and are par of NMI’s Healthy Aging Boomer Database.(www.nmisolutions.com)

“Boomers are being forced to look in the mirror and they want to change the reflection that is looking back,” French said. “they are trading off or even down:  successful “down market” products will make benefits tangible and relevant.”

New Boomer Research at the Boomer Summit

March 19, 2009  Bally's Las Vegas

March 19, 2009 Bally's Las Vegas

Entrepreneurs and  executives from innovative companies around the country will be gathering at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit in Las Vegas.

Here are some highlights.  If you haven’t registered there’s still time to register for the boomer summit.

Boomer behaviors and attitudes:  new research on what they are thinking now and how your marketing message needs to change to reach them.  Steve French, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) shares the new research at 9:30 on March 19.

50+ Women on the Web:  VibrantNation.com releases a new white paper on social networking and women 50+. 

The study’s findings are of particular interest to marketers in this recessionary economy, where Vibrant Women are one of the dwindling number of consumer groups with available discretionary funds. Vibrant Women are in the prime of their lives and the healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated generation in history. Defying the stereotype of increasing marginalization as they age, this study confirmed that not only are their networks growing, they are growing online.


Trends in aging in place technology:  It is a $2 billion segment today that promises to be a $20 billion industry by 2020, according to Laurie Orlov’s new report. This is the first major market research report to take a comprehensive look at the technology that will help people live in their own homes She’s releasing her findings at the Summit on March 19.


Media should contact boomersummitlwr@gmail.com for further information.