October 4, 2022
5 investors explain why longevity tech is a long-term play – TechCrunch

Of all the stories passed on through history, the tales of life unending have persisted in the human imagination without much change. The details differ, but nearly every civilization right from the time of the Egyptians has in some form or the other sought to delay death.

While we’re still far away from achieving that lofty goal, science has advanced a lot and as life expectancy increased, longevity is now a realm of technology and medicine that aims to increase how long people can live healthily.

“There is a common misconception in the general public that longevity means being frail and looking old for longer (“Curse of Tithonus”),” said Nathan Cheng and Sebastian Brunemeier of Healthspan Capital. “The goal is to slow the pace of aging, and even reverse the clock — this is possible in animals already. Longevity therapies mean we will live longer and in better health.”


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But the cost and time involved in developing longevity solutions presents a major hurdle, which means founders must be prepared to take the long view. “It is very difficult to convince people to do things that leave a visible impact only in the long term. Longevity is one of those things,” said Samuel Gil, partner at JME Ventures.

“The space is only getting started now and will infiltrate all aspects of our life in the next five to 10 years.” Samuel Gil, partner, JME Ventures

But Gil noted that the sheer breadth of opportunity the space offers is nearly unprecedented:

There are multiple angles to solve problems for very heterogeneous groups with different requirements. Health span versus life span, longevity for pets versus humans, biotech versus wellness, seniors versus young people, dependency versus autonomy, prevention versus treatment, analytics, education, infrastructure … Almost like how fintech was not just about creating credit card startups, we will see longevity APIs, back ends and many others.

It’s becoming clear that longevity as a theme has resonated with investors, though it appears it will be some time before more generalist investors take interest.

To get you up to speed on where the longevity market stands and where it’s headed, we spoke with:


Samuel Gil, partner, JME Ventures

What’s the most important thing first-time longevity founders need to know?

Longevity is a loaded word. Although most people are interested in extending health spans (number of years you live with no major age-related health issues), not everyone is interested in (and some have prejudices against) extending life spans (delaying human death).

There are multiple reasons for this. Some think that life is meaningful because it is finite (who wants to live forever?). Others think about environmental or economic issues.

So my advice here is to use the term “longevity” with caution or use alternatives.

As we all know, it is very difficult to convince people to do things that leave a visible impact only in the long term. Longevity is one of those things. My advice here is that your product has to solve a problem for the user right now — help them relieve back or knee pain, look better and so on — to entice them to buy now. Then, you can use the longevity program as a way to retain the user for the long term.

There are multiple angles to solve problems for very heterogeneous groups with different requirements. Health span versus life span, longevity for pets versus humans, biotech versus wellness, seniors versus young people, dependency versus autonomy, prevention versus treatment, analytics, education, infrastructure … Almost like how fintech was not just about creating credit card startups, we will see longevity APIs, back ends and many others.

Analysts estimate that the market for delaying human death could be worth $610 billion by 2025. What would unlock more growth in this sector?

Let me take the opposite point of view: I think the main challenge of the space is that the most audacious approaches and products have to be clinically tested in large samples of the population for very long periods of time. However, there are many other things that you can already try with a big upside and almost no downside.

As soon as a clinical trial shows positive results in humans, it will be a gold rush.

What are you most enthusiastic about in the longevity space?

We all know how powerful technology can be in shaping behavior. I believe there is enormous potential in using technology for shaping health-positive behavior (sleep, exercise, nutrition) in the population. The impacts on the healthcare system may be tremendous.

I am also very keen on quantified self-movement. I find it very gross that we know in real time what is happening in our cars, but we have no clue what’s going on inside our bodies. Continuous monitoring is going to be a reality at some point.

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