Emily White is a long-time friend of mine.
We met at the end of the last century over our startups.
Like me, Emily isn’t a twenty-something-guy-in-a-hoodie.
She founded OnlineHR, one of the earliest social networks, in 1999. Then 47, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
Emily is back with a vengeance as an entrepreneur, although she never really left. She reached into her past to pay the bills, while searching for her next startup idea.
In search of that next unidentified problem and solution, White returned to social work 30 years after earning a masters degree. Working for five organizations—all of them related to geriatrics, a personal interest and expertise—over the course of seven years, she “saw the problem was in care transition.”
In doing so, she also tapped into her passion for better senior care and combined it with technology to find a viable, affordable solution in the booming healthcare arena.
All of that led her, at the age of 61, to two 20-somethings, both MIT graduates, with a big idea. In 2014, White joined GeriJoy as co-founder and vice president of strategic alliance. GeriJoy is a tablet-based chronic care management and virtual caregiving tool backed by real health advocates. Bottom line? GeriJoy leads to lower hospital readmission rates. (…)GeriJoy has already successfully reduced emergency room readmissions for users and, in tests, had good results with people who are experiencing various forms of dementia. The combination of a human interface and artificial intelligence puts GeriJoy at the forefront of healthcare tech start-ups.
Contrary to popular media, nearly a quarter of startups are founded by the over 55 crowd.
Leaping in to entrepreneurialism as an older adult, White is not alone. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2011, 23.4 percent of American entrepreneurs in 2013 were people between the ages of 55 and 64, up from 18.7 percent in 2003.
Image credit: Emily White