Melinda Gates Partners With Techstars, The Second Largest Startup Accelerator in the World, To Address the Unmet Needs of Older Adults

Melinda French Gates joined Microsoft Corp. in 1987 and helped grow the technology company into the $2 trillion-dollar powerhouse that it is today. 

French Gates and her ex-husband Microsoft Founder Bill Gates grew the business into one of the most valuable and successful companies in the world. 

French Gates has long been considered a powerhouse in her own right, consistently ranking on the Forbes list of most powerful women in the world. But since her split with Gates in 2021, she has been spending more time on some of her own goals and advancing ideas she believes are important.

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She started Pivotal Ventures, a venture studio partnering with some of the biggest names in the startup investing world. In 2020, Pivotal Ventures partnered with Techstars, the world’s second-largest startup accelerator behind Y-Combinator, to create the Future of Longevity Accelerator. 

The Future of Longevity Accelerator is a program designed to mentor startups focusing on innovative solutions that address the unmet needs of older adults. 

The accelerator is a 13-week program that chooses 10 of the most promising startups in the space. To be accepted, startups must undergo months of sourcing, screening and interviews. Once finished, they will have engaged with over 100 mentors, hit several business milestones and mastered the ability to communicate their visions.

One example is ABBY by GoGoTech, a startup creating a new standard for wheelchair users around the globe. While many basic wheelchairs can cost thousands of dollars, even the best options aren’t meeting the needs of people with reduced mobility. ABBY is creating a hi-tech wheelchair that’s raising the standards for mobility at an affordable cost.

After graduating from the accelerator, ABBY is now raising funds on Wefunder to meet the demand for its wheelchairs, so anyone can invest in ABBY for a limited time. The company has more than 1,000 people on its waitlist.

Other companies from the same Future of Longevity Accelerator class, while not currently open for investment, include Wave Therapeutics, Vivo, HealthHive and MyFitPod. These startups include everything from software-as-a-service platforms for eldercare management to interactive fitness programs so older individuals can stay healthy. 

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