- Veteran investor Alan Patricof, 85, is teaming up with Abby Levy Miller, a former Soul Cycle exec and founding president of Thrive Global, to launch Primetime Partners, a new fund to back startups aiming to fill the unmet needs of people over 60.
- The new venture firm’s first fund has raised $32 million to invest in seed- and early-stage startups, in amounts up to $1 million each, and NBA superstar Kevin Durant is one of the investors.
- Patricof and Levy are hoping to take a large slice of the trillion-dollar-aging-sector pie by investing in startups that speak positively and aspirationally about what the later stages of life could look like.
- Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft and the founder of Apax Partners, is ready for his third act, and he hopes that his accomplishments will inspire older entrepreneurs to launch new careers.
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On the court, NBA superstar Kevin Durant is known for his ability to sink a three pointer. But off the court, Durant has another career as an investor, and he just put money into a fresh new fund to back startups aiming to fill the unmet needs of people over 60.
The new fund announced on Wednesday is the latest initiative of Alan Patricof, an 85-year-old pioneering venture capitalist and an early backer of AOL and Apple.
Patricof has joined forces with Abby Miller Levy, a former Soul Cycle exec and Thrive Global founding president, to launch Primetime Partners. The new venture firm’s first fund has raised $32 million to invest in seed-stage and early-stage startups, in amounts up to $1 million each.
Patricof, the co-founder of Greycroft and the founder of Apax Partners, says he is ready for his third act. Primetime officially emerged from stealth mode on July 29, and he’ll serve as the chair of the firm’s board of directors. Levy, an entrepreneur and advisor in the wellness sector, will lead Primetime as its managing partner.
Primetime’s celebrity investor Durant made his connection with the fund through one of Patricof ‘s sons.
“It was serendipitous, you might say,” Patricof said. As soon as the basketball star heard about the fund, “it resonated,” Patricof told Business Insider in an interview.
Durant, who is known for having a close relationship with his mother, is not the only one thinking about how to best support the older generation.
For more than a decade, Patricof said, he has been the primary caregiver to his wife Susan, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He said that this experience has made him aware that the world is woefully lacking in services and products geared towards the older generation and their caregivers.
Meanwhile, Levy, who left her SoulCycle gig in 2019, said she has spent over a year researching the market for products related to aging. In fall 2019, she even taught a course for the elderly, “Mini MBA: Intro to the Business of Technology,” at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City.
Levy heard about Patricof’s interest in launching a third act last November. The two met in 2016 while both were serving on the board of Thrive Global, where Levy was the company’s founding president.
They teamed up and jump-started Primetime Partners earlier this year by making 4 investments, 2 of them before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
“There aren’t brands that speak to older adults”
Currently, there are more than 74 million people over the age of 60 in the US. They make up almost one quarter of the US population. This group of people controls nearly 60% of the country’s net worth, but less than 10% of marketing cost is going towards products for the aging and their caretakers, Levy said.
The home care market for the elderly is expected to reach $225 billion by 2024, as Business Insider has previously reported. The market for aging-in-place technology alone is expected to reach $30 billion in the next few years. And some experts say that the global longevity economy could reach $27 trillion in annual spending by 2026.
Patricof and Levy are hoping to get a slice of that trillion-dollar pie by funding startups that connect with people who are over 60 on a more personal level.
One of the biggest challenges facing the aging population, Levy said, is that there just aren’t too many brands that talk positively and aspirationally about what the later stages of life could look like.
Sure, there’s AARP, Levy added, but one brand won’t cut it. “There aren’t brands that speak to older adults,” Levy said.
Bianca Padilla, the CEO and co-founder of Carewell, one of the Primetime fund’s first portfolio companies, is trying to change that.
She and her co-founder husband, Jonathan Magolnik, Carewell’s COO, launched a marketplace for caregivers looking for home healthcare products and personalized support in 2017.
Padilla, who grew up in a multigenerational Hispanic household, told Business Insider that the idea behind Carewell was inspired by watching her own mother serve as a caregiver to her grandparents. The CEO said that her mother struggled to find product names that no one in their family had ever heard of.
Watching a loved one receive a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming, but Padilla said that the experience of supporting a loved one could be made easier.
“Family is at the heart of health,” Padilla said in an interview with Business Insider. As a family-focused startup, Carewell is “building a brand around simplicity and putting things in layman’s terms so that it doesn’t seem so foreign and so scary,” Padilla added.
Patricof and Levy anticipate mostly funding startups launched by socially conscious young founders, but they’re hoping to back older entrepreneurs, too. The VC team is looking to invest across a number of verticals, including healthcare services, healthtech, fintech, care coordination, preventative health, and consumer tech.
A veteran investor’s third act
While Levy said she has hit the ground running in her new role as managing partner and advisor to the fund’s portfolio companies, Patricof said he has been hesitant to assume his role as a spokesperson for people who are over 60.
“I’m not excited about getting on the soapbox and saying to the world that I’m 85,” he said. “But I thought about it, I’ve accepted it.”
Patricof, who bikes regularly, said that he doesn’t feel a day over 40.
He was 72 when he founded Greycroft, which has seen its portfolio companies achieve multiple multi-million-dollar acquisitions by companies such as PayPal, Salesforce, and Disney.
He hopes that his accomplishments will inspire older Americans to launch new careers.
Patricof and Levy may have raised the fund to help improve the lives of the 60+ population and to inspire older entrepreneurs, but they’re also in it for the money. From the sidelines, the firm’s investors (Durant included) will be watching to see whether Patricof and Levy can sink a few baskets from mid-court.
“Even if we’re not the largest fund focused in this area,” Levy said, “we’re going to be.”