New longevity fund aims to change perceptions as much as outcomes

‘A longevity intervention with a twist’ – Brilliant Minds, a new fund dedicated to investing in founders over 60, launches.

A few weeks ago, Katerina Stroponiati, Founding Partner of Monday Capital, launched a new fund dedicated to investing in founders over 60. Called Brilliant Minds, Stroponiati describes it as “a longevity intervention with a twist”, as it will focus on entrepreneurs across various industries, not just in longevity, harnessing their broad experience and innovative potential in order to drive the longevity space forward.

Brilliant Minds will get involved at pre-seed and seed round stage, ideally leading the round, says Stroponiati. With a likely ticket size of $200k to $300k, the fund’s goal will be to support founders at the earliest stages, helping them close their rounds as quickly as possible so they can focus on their product or service. And by leading rounds, Stroponiati hopes Brilliant Minds will shine a light on this neglected market, showcasing its potential to other investors.

Longevity.Technology: Having invested in the longevity space for some time, Stroponiati feels that while there is a necessary focus on drugs and novel technologies to combat aging, this can result in older members of society being put out to pasture and being expected to withdraw from active participation at a time when dynamic and exploratory thought would not only benefit the entire space, but benefit them cognitively, as well.

Stroponiati hopes the new fund will help tackle this societal stigma and trigger a cultural shift that redefines aging. We sat down with her to find out more.

Stroponiati describes herself as an “industry agnostic”, looking for longevity opportunities in biotech and non-biotech.

“I see founders building from biotech startups, to applications on top of LLM to marketplaces,” she explains. “Much of this building couldn’t have been done by younger founders because of a lack of experience or because they just didn’t spot the gap in the market.”

The new fund doesn’t mean that Stroponiati will stop investing in younger founders, however.

“I’ll continue to support them as an angel investor,” she says. “’Brilliant Minds simply adds a new dimension to my investment portfolio, focusing on the unique potential of older entrepreneurs.”

Brilliant Minds is as much a vision as a fund; Stroponiati points out that ageism is one of the last socially accepted prejudices, a systemic issue that traps people in repetitive cycles, prematurely aging individuals and stifling progress. 

“Life expectancy continues to rise, scientists develop new longevity drugs, but our social systems and mindsets remain designed for a life expectancy of just 65,” she says, referencing research from the Kaufman Foundation that shows that entrepreneurs aged 55+ have a success rate three times higher than those aged 20-34. 

“However, venture capitalists ignore older founders, glorifying younger ones and believing that this approach is forward-thinking. The reality is that by excluding these experienced individuals from innovation, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes and slow down progress.”

Instead, Brilliant Minds introduces a model where seasoned founders drive innovation, and younger experts infuse them with fresh perspectives and trends. 

“This fund is a step towards updating our approach to match our new reality,” says Stroponiati.

The longevity space is all about longer lifespans and better healthspans, so it makes sense that these goals should go hand-in-hand with a reappraisal of the value of seniors. This reevaluation is one Stroponiati is championing.

“Individuals at the age of 60 are often viewed as liabilities, expected to withdraw from active participation, which exacerbates cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Brilliant Minds serves as a longevity intervention with a twist.” 

She explains that just as exercise and a good diet have been promoted over the last 30 years to combat heart disease – increasing life expectancy by 30% – Brilliant Minds aims to go even further. 

“The goal is to cultivate a new archetype: the modern human who continues to learn, innovate, and contribute to society, regardless of age. This approach not only aims to reduce cognitive decline but also to significantly extend healthspan.”

And changing perception is as important as changing outcomes – and all part of the Brilliant Minds vision.

Stroponiati points out that  most services targeting the growing aging population are centered around retirement, an approach that reinforces the view among younger generations that older adults are liabilities or are no longer useful. 

“This not only impacts current societal dynamics but also affects how we view our own future,” she explains. “We’re often raised to think in terms of one career or one skill set, but witnessing successful entrepreneurs over 60 continually learning and innovating encourages us all to believe that personal and professional growth can continue indefinitely.”

Stroponiati says there will be a “shift in perspective” when unicorns founded by individuals over 60 start to pop up, especially as they will introduce innovations typically expected only from the younger generation. 

“This will transform societal dynamics, fostering eagerness among younger individuals to work closely with their older counterparts, moving us from a dismissive ‘OK boomer’ attitude to a more inclusive, collaborative, and lifelong learning environment.”

Looking to the future, Stroponiati plans to build on these changes by creating an ecosystem that supports continual growth and contribution from the older population.

“This will include new services designed for continuation rather than retirement, such as co-working spaces tailored for all ages and ongoing education programs,” she explains. “These initiatives will enable older individuals to learn new skills, keep their minds open, and stay attuned to current and future cultural trends. Furthermore, we’ll be aiming to influence policy changes that support older entrepreneurs, for example proposing tax benefits for founders over 60.”

Photograph courtesy of Katerina Stroponiati