Many people think of startups being populated by young hipsters with a big new idea, full of ambition to change the world.
But, there are plenty of older, seasoned entrepreneurs coming up with new inventions and bringing them to market. Over 50s might not have been brought up with a lot of technology that is used nowadays, but they certainly see the possibilities of the internet and mobile technology, working from home or developing their own business.
As retirement is getting closer, some are motivated to top up their pension. Others simply choose for more freedom or to bring a brilliant idea to market.
Here, we put the spotlight on some startups founded by those over 50, to show it’s never too late to chase your dream.
In 2014, 62-year-old Carmen Hijosa founded Ananas Anam, a startup that has developed an environmentally-friendly alternative to leather. Carmen Hijosa had been researching plant fibres since the 1990s before she launched the company in London which is inspired by the use of plant fibres in traditional weaving, such as in Barong Tagalog garments in the Philippines, Hijosa created Piñatex. Piñatex is a textile made from pineapple leaf fibres and maintains a low environmental footprint throughout its life cycle. It also has a positive social and economic impact,
Ananas Anam was developed whilst Hijosa completed a PhD at the Royal College of Art in London, taking the company through the incubator programme at the Royal College of Arts. Ananas Anam has received four grants, totalling £276k, and raised £3.05m in investment, across eight funding rounds. Hijosa has also won awards for her creativity and innovation, and regularly shares her views on sustainability at panels and events, including TEDx talks.
Beckley Psytech was launched in 2019, and one of its founders, Lady Amanda Feilding was in her seventies at the time. Feilding used her decades of experience in the scientific exploration of psychedelics to launch the company, believing that modern science can be used to understand, validate and optimise the healing potential of psychedelic medicines. Beckley Psytech is committed to improving the lives of patients in need and partners with the Beckley Foundation to fuel the vision that clinically validated psychedelic medicines to be integrated into modern medical practice in order to help patients in need around the world suffering debilitating conditions
Beckley Psytech conducts research into a psychedelic compound called 5-MeO-DMT, with the aim of developing it into a treatment for mental health issues, such as addiction and depression. Beckley Psytech has raised £75 million in investment to date and is based in Oxford, UK. As well as founding her own business, Amanda has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications, many with ground-breaking results, and also founded the Beckley Foundation.
Joanna Winslade founded Buddy in 2011 when she was 57. A medical doctor by profession at the time, Winslade could not find anything gentle enough to protect leg ulcers for an elderly relative and thus began developing a product herself. – and thus Buddy was born. Buddy produces a range of reusable limb covers, allowing wearers to keep wound dressings dry while swimming or bathing. These covers are latex-free and flexible and suitable for amputees or people with wounds.
Based in Wales, Buddy also offers a ‘prep shield’, a surgical limb drape for use in minor and major surgeries. The company has raised £319k in equity investment so far. Winslade’s next project in the works is Animal Buddy, which will provide a range of covers for dogs’ limbs.
Founded in 2014 by professor Peter Donnelly alongside fellow academics from the University of Oxford, Genomics is aiming to transform health by harnessing the power of genomics. Donnelly realised the huge advances that were being made in the field of genetics weren’t being translated into better healthcare for people. Genomics tries to overcome this, developing analytics for genome sequence data, and creating new opportunities in health, healthcare, and drug discovery.
Genomic prevention is Genomic’s vision: it is a field where doctors and healthcare systems can deliver care before people get sick. Genomics uses the mechanisms of disease to produce effective and tailored medicines and target those at risk. The precision medicine company has secured six funding rounds to date, raising over £66 million in financial capital.
Founded by Jayne-Anne Gadhia in 2020 when she was 58, Snoop is an impact-driven fintech. The startup is powered by open banking and helps people to spend and save smarter. The app provides users with ‘snoops’ which gives them insights into how they’re spending and how to make more savvy choices.
This Norwich-based startup is transforming traditional money management services through tech to make people better off in the long run. The startup has raised over €20 million already so far and is sure to keep growing as the cost-of-living crisis shits and we all need to better manage our money.