Balancing the Longevity books: “biological aging is malleable”

Margaretta Colangelo on the importance of AgeTech, new financial paradigms – and the new book she has co-authored with Dmitry Kaminskiy.

Continuing our series of interviews with our Advisory Panel members, we took the opportunity of a brand-new book publication to catch up with Margaretta Colangelo, co-founder and managing partner at Deep Knowledge Ventures.

Longevity.Technology: Margaretta Colangelo has co-authored an important new book with fellow Advisory Panel member Dmitry Kaminskiy that will look at new segments of the rising Longevity Industry, including Longevity Politics, Governance and the Longevity Financial Industry. We kicked off by asking Colangelo when it was coming out.

Margaretta Colangelo: We are having a virtual book launch tomorrow. I am very excited about our book! It’s called Longevity Industry 1.0: Defining the Biggest and Most Complex Industry in Human History and it’s coming out this week. This book is the first book in a series of 10 books that we’re writing. The next book is called Longevity 2.0 and we’ll publish it in 2021.

Longevity.Technology: When did you become interested in Longevity and what led you to work in this area?
Margaretta Colangelo: I became interested in Longevity over 30 years ago. Initially, I was interested in scientific research because aging is the biggest risk factor for developing many diseases including Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. When I understood that biological aging is malleable, that scientists are researching ways to intervene in the aging process, I became very interested because this means we might be able to cure so many age-related diseases that cause so much suffering.

Longevity science is much more advanced than other areas of science because Longevity requires the complete optimization of health at the deepest level, targeting biological systems that control disease. Longevity research focuses on preventing diseases rather than treating diseases.
Margaretta Longevity
I’m a native San Franciscan and I’ve been living and working here for over 30 years. There’s always been a lot of interest in health and Longevity here. For example, we have the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. This is the #1 place in the world for aging research. They have over 250 scientists in 19 labs, all researching age-related diseases. They have the first and only institute in the world dedicated to researching female reproductive Longevity and exploring the critical relationship between reproductive function and aging.

I have been actively following Longevity science for over 30 years and I know many of the scientists who are researching aging. However, I didn’t work in the industry until I met Dmitry Kaminskiy, my co-author. Three years ago, Dmitry asked me to join Deep Knowledge Group and work with him. I moved from working in the software industry to working in the Longevity industry entirely because of Dmitry. Dmitry is an ultra high-performance person who is completely committed to what he is doing and capable of functioning at the highest level. It’s really motivating to work with someone like that.

Longevity.Technology: Is there anything in terms of subjects or issues that you feel aren’t getting sufficient exposure at this time?
Margaretta Colangelo: I think that AgeTech is misunderstood and doesn’t get enough attention. AgeTech was non-existent 10 years ago. Today, people are becoming aware of the size of the AgeTech sector and the opportunity. Today several types of AgeTech products are available including tablets, smartphones, computers, banking interfaces, medical alert systems, phone amplifiers, voice recognition, face recognition, TouchID, and intelligent virtual assistants. Advanced technologies such as AI will help advance AgeTech over the next few years.

Apple has already embedded AgeTech in their devices. It’s an interesting fact that in 2015, people 65 and older spent more money on Apple devices than any other demographic group. Today those people are 70+ and chances are they will continue to buy Apple products. So it’s not surprising that the new Apple products come with AgeTech built in. For example the new MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, iPhone 11 Pro all have a built-in privacy system for unlocking your device and authorizing Apple Pay with touch ID and face recognition so the user doesn’t have to use passwords.

We are developing Longevity Bank which will be the first bank to on-board AgeTech, HealthTech, Data Science and AI to provide enhanced banking to 1 billion people over 60. The Longevity Bank will focus on preventing financial exploitation and helping people stay healthy, and will offer incentives to motivate clients to adopt healthy lifestyles. The Bank will offer age-friendly products such as specialized savings accounts, specialized retirement plans, and specialized financial advising. Longevity Bank will provide excellent customer service enabled by AgeTech to facilitate adjustments that the clients wants to make to his/her finances without unnecessary complexity.

“AI drives Longevity, Longevity enables AgeTech, AgeTech enables WealthTech, and WealthTech supports interest in Longevity as an industry.”

HSBC has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Society to create dementia-friendly products, and Barclays is developing software for seniors to improve the user experience. Over the next few years, WealthTech and AgeTech will come to be regarded as complementary functions.

Over 150 financial companies are already developing innovative WealthTech and AgeTech products and services. Over 250 investors have already invested in the space. AI is central to this process. AI drives Longevity, Longevity enables AgeTech, AgeTech enables WealthTech, and WealthTech supports interest in Longevity as an industry.

This makes the ongoing growth of AgeTech and WealthTech inevitable. Many innovative financial institutions are in development such as Longevity-focused venture funds, Longevity-AgeTech banks, Longevity index funds and hedge funds, and even a specialized stock exchange for Longevity-focused companies and financial products.

AgeTech will benefit many, many people. It will help older people live independently longer …

Longevity.Technology: Will AgeTech advancements be democratised instead of being just available to those who can afford them?
Margaretta Colangelo: AgeTech will benefit many, many people. It will help older people live independently longer, it will protect them from fraud, it will reduce complexity, it will help them interact with their doctors, it will help them with banking. AgeTech will be embedded into products and services to improve ease of use and it will be invisible to the user. AI in AgeTech will enable a personalized experience for everyone. It will be embedded in products in banks, hospitals, airports, stores, homes, even in cars.

Globally, there are more than 1.6 billion people over 50 years of age. This demographic is so big that it could be its own continent …

Longevity.Technology: Is there any aspect of Longevity that you think is in need of greater emphasis?
According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010, 85+ was the fastest growing population and 100+ was the second fastest growing population. Globally, there are more than 1.6 billion people over 50 years of age. This demographic is so big that it could be its own continent – the 7th Continent.

This demographic spans four generations and is the most powerful group in the world in terms of economic and political power. The global spending power of this demographic is $15 trillion per year, and is expected to grow to $27 trillion by 2026.

This is a massive opportunity for AgeTech innovation in financial services, healthcare, technology, education, transportation, travel, smart homes, and in the workplace.
Find out more about Margaretta and Dmitry’s new book here.

Do check out our earlier interviews with our Advisory Panel members Michael HuffordJoão Pedro de MagalhãesAubrey de Grey, Lorraine Morley and Greg Bailey (parts one & two).