The future of the senior population is here, and it's not what you think.
Technological advancements are coming so fast that they're literally changing how we age as a society. Older adults are more active than ever before. To catch up with the changing face of this demographic, many companies have started to develop technology solutions for them.
Tracy (Killoren) Chadwell is the founding partner of 1843 Capital, a company dedicated solely to funding startups. She's making her mark through early-stage investments in "Silver Tech", who are developing tech specifically designed for older adults! This will help them stay active and engaged as they grow old while also allowing them to participate more fully in society than ever before!
Pre-Intro dialogue from Tracy (Killoren) Chadwell
Explanation of what Silver Tech is?
Why did you choose to focus on Silver Tech and what factors led to this strategic focus?
Is part of the reason you focus on Silver Tech out of personal interest too or was it a trend? And it was industry-based?
What are the current trends we're seeing in technology solutions for older adults in the senior living space? What are your thoughts?
How is the over 50 demographic changing and where do you think this group will be long-term?
What innovations are currently in the pipeline that is aiming to slow the aging process that you see?
What are some of the companies that you're most proud of investing in?
What company that you invested in, do you think will have the biggest impact long-term in the field of an older adult and senior living care?
In your role, how do you find the balance of what is needed versus what is investible?
Has there ever been an idea or a company you were passionate about, but was just not investible for one reason or another?
I know you're very active in the community of Women's Founders. Can you explain what barriers you had to overcome in this, male-dominated industry to get to where you are today?
What are you doing to make sure that future women don't have to face these same challenges? What can an average person do to help in this, in this fight?
On a personal level, what do you think is your biggest strength that enables you to have a unique, impactful effect on this senior sector?
Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
Named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's "100 Powerful Women" and Forbes "8 Women VC's to know" Tracy (Killoren) Chadwell is an experienced venture capital investor and attorney. Notable investments include early investments in Beautycounter, which sold for $1 Billion, Tempo Automation, HopSkipDrive, and May Mobility.
She is a leader and a sought-after speaker within the community of women founders, innovators, and entrepreneurs, including giving testimony before a U.S. Senate Committee. She has been a speaker for the Nantucket Project, MIT, and TEDx NYIT. In 2018, she was won Moffly Media's "Women's Business Advocate" award.
Learn more about Tracy at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracychadwell/
We're starting to see, do you, I don't know if you remember the morning television shows used to have a guy on to talk about "Who turned a hundred this day?", or "Who turned a hundred that day?" And it was only on every once in a while. And now we're seeing people living into their hundreds as just a matter of course. I mean, it's really, really interesting for me to watch this progress. So, we're seeing people live into their hundreds. I think you and I, Hanh could live to be 120. And so, what we're doing is we're trying to not roll back time but maximize the time that we have and prepare for the fact that we're going to be doubling our lifespan. And so, we have to take care of ourselves, whether it's our mental acuity, whether it's our finances, whether it is our physical skin or our heart health, things like that. This is all encompassed in longevity. And what is amazing is the acceptance right away, because I think there's a lot of self-interest here, right?Hanh:
Tracy Chadwell founding partner of 1843 Capital joins me today on Boomer Living. She's named one of the Entrepreneur's Magazine, 100 Powerful women in 2019. She's making her mark through early stage investments in Silver Tech, which we'll explore later on the show. So, I'm excited to learn more about her experience and learn about the changing face of people over 50. So, Tracy, thank you so much for being with me today on Boomer Living.Tracy:
Thank you so much Hanh for having me and thank you for having this platform and shedding a light on this really important issue.Hanh:
Great. Great. Now could we start by having you give us a quick explanation of what Silver Tech, what that is for listeners who may not be familiar with the term?Tracy:
I really like the term term Silver Tech. It's something that I came up with a few years ago when I kept hearing things like Elder Tech or Age Tech. And I just thought a lot of those really didn't fully describe what the opportunity was. I think that there's so many people that are living longer and wanting to live a more full and vital life. And so, I thought Silver Tech just reflects a little bit better, that sense and that feeling of what people are doing these days and how technology can help them do it better.Hanh:
So, now why did you choose to focus on Silver Tech and what factors led to this strategic focus?Tracy:
The area of Silver Tech, first of all, is probably the largest market opportunity there is. I'm sure we all know the statistics about 10,000 people turning 65 every day and 83% of the wealth in this country being held by people over 50. But I think the the other side of the coin that people haven't really caught up with until sort of very recently is the fact that there is a real, true opportunity for technology to assist people as they age or improve quality of life. And we haven't seen that innovation up until about three or four years ago. So, we have recently, we recently stumbled across the thesis when we made an investment in a company called Silver Tech and we've been pursuing it ever since.Hanh:
Great. Great. Now, Well, is part of the reason you focus on Silver Tech out of personal interest too, or was it a trend? And it was an industry based?Tracy:
Absolutely it is, I think. Things always stem from personal interest. And and as my parents were aging and I've subsequently lost my mother and went through that whole process and I'm aging as well, we're all aging. I'm in my fifties now and I'm starting to not only sense pain points that I have personally say around the menopause space, but then also things that I see my father continued to go through and other people around me. So, uh, absolutely stemming from personal interests first, but, uh, but we are fiduciaries for our fund. So, the market opportunity also really had to be there.Hanh:
Great. Now, being a partner at an early stage technology company, I'd imagine that you're on top of all the latest trends. So, what are the current trends we're seeing in technology solutions for older adults in the senior living space? What's your thoughts?Tracy:
I think one of the largest trends is around caregiving. I think that was the easiest and biggest application. First of all, I'm sure everyone knows about the caregiving shortage that there is out there. And so, there has been a huge trend and tremendous dollars poured in. I don't know if you saw the recent investment by type of global of $60 million into Papa, but there has been a tremendous inflow of capital into the space of either connecting people with caregivers, or just doing the underlying software connection between caregivers and say their families or their doctors, anyone that needs to be in communication about them. And, uh, so, this has been in a space that we have been interested in for a long time. It has been a tough one to crack. I know, the company care.com, which is probably about 15 years old now, amazingly enough, and went public which sort of all encompassed everything about care, but now we're getting into very specific verticals and use cases around senior living use cases that are specifically for direct to consumer that are under insurance companies, and then private pay solutions.Hanh:
That's great. Now I see this market is exponentially growing.Tracy:
Now one thing, I assume that you also have a lot of expertise with is the changing face of, um, I guess people over 50. And how is this demographic changing and where do you think this group will be long-term?Tracy:
I think first of all, we're starting to see, do you, I don't know if you remember the morning television shows used to have a guy on to talk about "Who turned a hundred this day?", or "Who turned a hundred that day?" And it was only on every once in a while. And now we're seeing people living into their hundreds as just a matter of course. I mean, it's really, really interesting for me to watch this progress. So, we're seeing people live into their hundreds. I think you and I, Hanh could live to be 120. And so, what we're doing is we're trying to not roll back time but maximize the time that we have and prepare for the fact that we're going to be doubling our lifespan. And so, we have to take care of ourselves, whether it's our mental acuity, whether it's our finances, whether it is our physical skin or our heart health, things like that. This is all encompassed in longevity. And what is amazing is the acceptance right away, because I think there's a lot of self-interest here, right?Hanh:
Everything that you're saying, I echo that. Obviously there's a lot of focus on the aging sector and I think equally, if not more important, there needs to be in the longevity sector. A lot of it is sure it's genetics, but I think more has to do with the lifestyle. We talk about dementia or illnesses that come with aging and dementia is a big component. But I got to tell you we, as humanity just got to take ownership of our day to day healthy choices.Tracy:
You're absolutely right.Hanh:
I think I see that more as compared to years ago, because I think a lot more is accessible and not all of it is necessarily expensive.Tracy:
Right, right. I think you're absolutely right. But I think as equally as important as it is to have us to take care of ourselves physically, by eating well, seeing your doctor, when you need to try to limit your exposure to toxins. I think it's also important to take care of yourself financially. And I do tell people in their thirties, " Start right now, get a bank account, get a brokerage account. You've got to start saving and investing yourself because guess what? The government really is not going to be there when you, when it comes to be your turn."Hanh:
That's exactly what I tell my kids who are in their mid twenties.Tracy:
Very important. What innovations are currently in the pipeline that are aiming to slow the aging process that you see?Tracy:
Oh, my gosh. Some of the really interesting ones that we've seen is definitely Metformin, which I'm sure a lot of people listening are familiar with and know that it is a drug that it was originally prescribed for diabetes, but is now using off-label to discourage what is commonly refer to now as "Aging is a disease.", which I think is really interesting. So, we're hearing more about aging is a disease. It's not considered by insurance companies, something that's covered because right now they consider it a natural process that everybody goes through. But a lot of the science that we're seeing says, heck, that does not have to happen. And there's a really interesting skincare company that I've been following that actually is regenerating skin cells. And I've been using it for a while. I hope it's working.Hanh:
And what is that? I'm curious myself?Tracy:
It's a company is actually by a Latinex founder, and it is a company called One Skin. And it's very interesting microbiologists that have discovered a way to get rid of some of the dead skin cells that are underlying your dermis and to replace them with new regenerative cells. So, that way we don't need any injections, right?Hanh:
Oh, I mean, I'm with you right there when you talk about skincare. I think that's very near and dear to many, to all folks, but particularly women in their fifties.Tracy:
And one of the things that we don't really realize is that we are putting so many toxins in our body and on our skin. And I recently had an exit in a company called Beauty Counter, which sold for a billion dollars to Carlisle, which I'm very excited about, but that one of the reasons I was so enthralled with that too, is we're putting why should we be worried about eating kale? But we're not worried about putting very toxic things on our skin. And there's over 6,000 things that are considered to be carcinogens that we put on our body that that we don't really realize, which is crazy. So, whether it's beauty counter or something else look for Clean Beauty. And I know that the Honest company went public this week as well. And so, think about that too. Think about things you're smelling. When you're using Clorox Bleach, you're essentially killing yourself.Hanh:
I think you're right. I think a lot of has been focused on the health care and the caregiving for obvious reasons, I'm very excited to see, like you said, the skincare. Personally, I am very much interested in that.Tracy:
Of course. Absolutely. We're all excited about it.Hanh:
Now, you mentioned a few, I just want to make sure if there were any others. So, what are some of the companies that you're most proud of investing in?Tracy:
I think the company I'm most proud of investing in from both a financial standpoint and from the aftereffects, the afterglow, if you will, which is very important to me, but we always have to act first and foremost in the interest of our investors, is a company called Kerry Loop. Kerry Loop was formed by Michael Walsh down in Dallas, Texas. And the reason I like it from an investment perspective is what it does is it provides care coaches. If you have a care journey. Say, you have a mother who's has all timers and suddenly you're confronted not only with the very heavy emotional burden of that, but couple that with trying to find out does she belong in a care facility? Does she belong in memory care? Can she handle it at home? What kind of sensors do we put in our house? How do we get her to the doctor? What kind of doctors should be seeing? She should be doing some online training. All these are questions that you're confronted with all of a sudden with sort of the sadness that you carry as well. So, this is a human resources benefit company. So they, what they do is they provide these care coaches. If you work at say a KPMG who was a recent client or BlackRock, you'll be able to use their care coaches. So, the burden is not all on your shoulders with people that have done this before that know exactly what to do and how to help you. So, guess what you can go back and be great at your job. And the reason that I really also love this besides it's financially a huge success is that we just saw a huge tragedy with with coronavirus. We had 3 million women step out of the workforce, and most of those were for caregiving responsibilities. So, you know, this always falls on the shoulder of the unpaid caregiver and by companies giving anyone in their company, this resource to be able to help them to do their best job and to keep them in the workplace, I think is heroic. So, we're excited.Hanh:
Absolutely.Yes. And I see, correct me if I'm wrong, like Amazon Care in doing the similar line, is that right?Tracy:
Yeah. It's exciting.Hanh:
Now, what company that you invested in, do you think will have the biggest impact long-term in the field of older adult and senior living care?Tracy:
I do feel like that Carrie Loop, absolutely. But then also too, we recently invested in a company called Recurl Health. And Recurl Health was founded by two of the original founders of Teladoc, which is Michael Gordon and John Halsy. And this is an incredible company, because what they're doing is they're treating the whole patient it's Teladoc 2.0. What they're doing is they're starting with genetic testing, which you brought up earlier, which we're so excited about. And this is the protocols out of the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Ang developed a test that is both genetic testing, coupled with family history, which is also incredibly important. And then they're able to do remote. Testing and tele-health solutions. It's pretty exciting that they're focusing really on the comprehensive person, rather than just treating you in the moment for something that you have a problem with. And the beauty of this is by having all this information and treating you better data, equaling better outcomes. Are prospects for living now into 140, you know, we get better and better. So, you know, we're not we're not faced with recovering from strokes or recovering from cancer as we're living into the end years of our life.Hanh:
So, it sounds like there's a lot of emphasis and prevention.Tracy:
Improving longevity and-not just fixing. So, that's great. Definitely we're seeing it a lot more now.Tracy:
It's pretty exciting stuff.Hanh:
So, in your role, how do you find the balance of what is needed versus what is investible?Tracy:
Yeah, that's such a great question. Thank you for answering that. Because that's something that we're confronted all the time we say is this in our words we say, "Is this kind of a gimmick?", "or is this something that's really needed?" And I always refer to it as a nice to have versus a have to have. And that's, something like Carrie Loop, like when when you're working, you absolutely have to have help. Otherwise you have to end up quitting your job. And the companies see that. And the companies from an empathetic standpoint, want to help out their employees, but also too, it's a really good business decision for them because they get a better return on investment for their employees. We have another company called HopSkipDrive, which drives both the children and also seniors. This is a half to have as, as people are aging, they're not able to, or should be driving. So, that's, a have to have as well. And likewise, our investment in Ma Mobility, which is also in transportation, that's autonomous shuttle that can drive people around. This allows, people have to get around and they have to do it for socialization and they have to get to doctor's appointments and they have to get outside and not be so isolated. We really think about that very hard, whether something's a company or is it a feature and whether it is a, have to have, or a nice to have. And some of the, it's unfortunate I'm sure you know, that a lot of the senior living communities, margins are running really narrow, especially after COVID, they've had so many expenses there. So, it's extremely difficult for them to be additive in terms of things that are just quality of life based. So, sometimes we look at a lot of those companies that are being formed to help a patient's quality of life. But unless it's reimbursable by insurance, it's really a difficult thing for people to pay for. So, then it becomes a nice to have.Hanh:
Right, right. A lot of the companies that you invest in, it's really usable, whether it's aging in place or in a community. Is that what I mean, did I understand that correctly?Tracy:
We don't care where a person is, if you're over 50. And it's a product for you. We're interested in taking a look at it.Hanh:
Now, has there ever been an idea or a company you were really passionate about, but was just not investible for one reason or another?Tracy:
We have, we did the company that we invested in and we did make the investment in Silver Nest. It's still it, and we did sell. The company sold recently it's still on the upswing and what it did was it matched roommates of people over 50. And I think one of the reasons that they're still finding their way and progressing is maybe people are a little bit uncomfortable having someone in their home that they don't know. So, that was one of the things where we thought, okay, these are some people that have to have this product because for whatever reason, they're on a very fixed income because they're getting older, they're not working anymore, but they still have this asset that is their home. And we thought this is really interesting because it allows them to monetize that asset by bringing a roommate in. I think what we overestimated was the interest and the comfort of people, being able to be in their, in their homes with someone they don't know, but then also to the customer acquisition cost. So, trying to find those people. How do you get to them to let them know that the service exists? Was one of the challenges as well.Hanh:
So, I know you're very active in the community of Women's Founders. So, can you explain what barriers you had to overcome in this, male dominated industry to get to where you are today?Tracy:
Yeah I I was one of the first female partners of a growth capital fund called Baker Capital, back in what I call the turn of the century, which is the 1990s into the early two thousands. And then I spent some time raising my children and getting back into the business was very, very difficult. Not just because it was a woman, but also because I'd taken a few years off to raise my kids. And I will tell you that is not retirement. That's a tough job for anyone. And I have a tremendous respect for all the women out there that are doing it, cause it's not a, not an easy thing. But we we're very few as check writers both as founders of firms and just partners firms with the ability to write a check. We're seeing more and more, they, you know, a lot of people have complained to the line that there's been a pipeline problem where it's been, that there haven't been enough women with experience in the business. But now, that, we're seeing that change, we're seeing a lot of women having interest in venture capital and private equity. And we're seeing a lot of women being hired as associates and principals, which is a great thing. So, now we still have to work on women partners and women founders of their own firms, because I think that the more diverse opinions and viewpoints of the check writers, you're going to get a more diverse and ultimately successful pool of founders that are funded, and companies that are doing really interesting things. To take something that's hyper obvious, it takes women to run a menopause company and it takes women to make an investment in it because it's it's very difficult to understand the nuances and to be able to be predictive in that space. You can look at certain sales numbers and you can look at margins, but but I think it'd be tough if you haven't gone through the process to really see, to say, "Oh yeah, these are the things that women need. And yes, this is going to be successful."Hanh:
I echo that. So, good for you. Now, that's wonderful. That's admirable. And I am optimistic that there's more women that will be, in this direction. So, that's great.Tracy:
I think so, too. And for a lot of people, it's just giving them a shot. We just need a shot.Hanh:
That's great. So, what are you doing to make sure that future women don't have to face these same challenges? What can an average person do to help in this, in this fight?Tracy:
There's always ways, no matter what level you are. So, I would say that the simplest and the easiest thing to do is kind of be aware that a lot of products now have designations "Women owned." So, if you're, if you're trying to choose between two products and they're both equal and one says Woman Owned. Why don't you grab that one? Because that one's helping to support a woman business owner. Also too, there's a lot of restaurants, that are in town and those are owned by women too. And you can be supportive of those. You could look for women fund managers among, uh, the, you know, if you, even, if you have just a brokerage account and you just have a little bit of money to put to work, you could try to seek out some women fund managers. I know that there's some mutual funds that are women managed. And we all know ARC, which is one of the most popular right now. And then and then if you're at the higher end support women hedge fund managers and women venture capital managers, because starting at the top then they're able to help more. It just amplifies it because they're able to help more and more women.Hanh:
Great. Great. Those are great points. On a personal level, what do you think is your biggest strength that enables you to have a unique, impactful effect on this senior sector?Tracy:
I think personally I'm like a Weeble"Weebles Wobble but they don't fall down.", and I get knocked down almost daily. It's incredibly this is a lot harder than people think, a lot of people can make an investment, but to actually shepherd one through, to an exit and to be able to do that successfully is incredibly difficult. One of the things that I pointed out to my team the other day is that you can have lots of companies that might fail for one reason. They're incredibly fragile. But then on the success side too, is, as the company starts to really succeed and the ones that are rocket ships, you've got all kinds of people trying to take their cut, as that goes along. So, that so not only do you have failures, but then your successes, there's a hundred people trying to take your success away from you too. So, it's a tough business. And it's just that ability that, I have a purpose and I am right where I am supposed to be. And I am making a difference that gets me up every single morning, and I almost can't help it, but just go back to the fight again. And so, I think that's probably my superpower and hopefully all that effort is making a difference for anyone who is anyone who's aging as all of us. But then but then also to the extent that I can help unrepresented founders, I'm really happy to do that too.Hanh:
Yeah, I love it. I think we need more leaders like yourself. I can sense your enthusiasm and your passion, so that's great.Tracy:
Thank you. Yeah, no, I absolutely love what I do.Hanh:
That's good. Okay. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?Tracy:
I just want to say that if there's anybody out there thinking about starting a business, you absolutely should go for it, but put your financial house in order first. I mean, this has been a recurring theme of what we've been talking about is that we've all got to be so responsible for ourselves and for our finances. And I always say, when I started my fund, I made sure that I had three years of cash, that if my, if for whatever reason, the business didn't work out, that I still had cash to fall back on. And I think that planning that and planning it early really can make all the difference in the world.Hanh:
Great advice. I'm going to take that advice and I'm also going to pass it on to my kids.Tracy: