have formed a unique strategic partnership to create and co-invest in startup companies whose technologies can help people as they age.
Cincinnati-based CincyTech is a public-private seed-stage investor that has invested since 2007 in 35 startup companies in IT and bioscience. Linkage Ventures is a newly created venture arm of Linkage, a Mason-based nonprofit organization whose members are senior living providers throughout the US. Linkage has hired investment banker and former technology company executive John Hopper as managing director of Linkage Ventures.
CincyTech and Linkage are partnering in order to identify, evaluate and invest in early-stage technologies that startups can take to market to benefit the aging population either directly or through care-giving organizations.
“This partnership is about promoting whole-person wellness and providing solutions that help people age successfully wherever they chose to do it,” says Scott Collins, president and CEO of Linkage Ventures.
The deal is unique in that it closely aligns the sources of “deal flow” – entrepreneurs with aging-related technology – with sources of capital that can help them grow and go to market. Linkage has 600 member communities in 39 states who are frequently approached about concepts and products that can help their 134,000 residents and 16,000 employees. With that deal flow and funds available through Linkage Ventures and CincyTech, the path for great solutions becomes easier to navigate.
Linkage also provides a rare opportunity to identify the needs of people as they age. “Our communities have built and earned a trust with this population that allows us to talk directly to them about their needs and desires,” Collins says.
This reach and relationship-building provides the ability to conduct truly transparent market research, says Mike Venerable, CincyTech’s managing director of digital, software and health tech.
“We can quickly validate the economics of a product or idea through their population,” he says.
Adds Collins: “It’s not just the investment. We’ve got the domain expertise internally, and we can do quick beta testing that marries well with the CincyTech network and expertise.”
By Sarah Blazak for CincyTech