Silver financial system: better variety of startups based by individuals over 50 signifies traits
- October 31, 2022
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Mapping by the Brazilian Startup Association shows that 18.2% of Brazilian startups were founded by people aged 46 or over
Among the trends that are on the market and organizations’ radar, the agenda of “silver economy” is increasingly present. Referring to the gray hair of women and men who are over 50 years old, this segment of the economy concerns not only the large contingent of consumers in this age group but also those who are in charge of their own business.
Figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that the share of Brazilians aged 60 and over rose from 11.3% to 14.7% of the population between 2012 and 2021 — in absolute numbers, the jump was 22, 3 million to 31.2 million.
On the other hand, a survey by Sebrae points out that, among the owners of micro and small Startups led by people over 50 years old, 29% are more than 50 years old – only those over 50 years of age point to ways to innovate. 65 years old corresponds to 6% of the total number of active entrepreneurs.
In the wake of these numbers, it is only natural for older entrepreneurs to start exploring an area that is still dominated by younger ones: technology. Mapping by the Brazilian Startup Association shows that 18.2% of Brazilian startups were founded by people aged 46 or over. “Innovation involves diversity, and a startup is born from a market pain, which is often known by those who experienced it. There is a great possibility of creating something that has not yet been created”, says Sebrae-SP consultant Ricardo Sérgio Martins, manager of the Silver Startup Lab, an initiative of Sebrae for Startups to support the development and growth of startups led by people above of 50 years.
Today the program has 35 selected startups, in different stages, from ideation to those that are already validated by the market. For Martins, the exchange of ideas and impressions between these older and younger entrepreneurs is fundamental for the growth of startups, each one giving their contribution, but the “silver” ones manage to do better in some fundamental topics for those who want to gain market share. . “In four years working on projects with startups, I see that the more experienced ones go deeper and are also the ones who have a clearer vision of the business”, he says.
The desire to turn an innovative idea into a business — and also the fear of not getting more space in the job market due to age — was what led chemical engineer Lilian Laraia to invest in the creation of her startup, Laraia Tech, about of six years. The company works with data and information analysis to help companies make decisions, using artificial intelligence, machine learning, semantic analysis and text mining tools. “I believe companies need to be reinventing themselves all the time, and they need tools to make that happen,” she says.
With a career dedicated to research and development, and more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Lilian found an opportunity to undertake, combining the experience of factory floor processes with the studies developed in her master’s degree.
Among the solutions that the startup offers are, for example, an algorithm for patent analysis and predictive analysis from large information banks. “Our goal is to make our customers protagonists of the future of innovation, who can take a more disruptive leap or take a step by step until they are ready”, he says.
For the startup to get off the ground, however, it had to undergo training to deal with basic issues needed to run a company, such as finance and business planning. Today there are five people in the company, including a 75-year-old partner, the founder’s former teacher. “The experience of someone who has lived for a long time is valuable and we are not always able to transfer it. Today the team is between 25 and 75 years old, and the younger ones are absorbing what the older ones have to offer. In the past, a person aged 50 was old, there was a culture of despising the elderly, but we can do a lot”, says Lilian. Currently, the company is in the traction phase to become sustainable in the market.
Seeing up close one of the main complaints of the elderly person – loneliness – was what led entrepreneur Adirson Allen to have a “snap”: why not create a startup aimed at this audience, offering the skills they have to people close to them who are you missing the affection of grandparents? That’s how VoVs came about, a name inspired by the affectionate way of calling his grandfather and grandmother, a company created by him, now 60 years old, and his two daughters, in their 20s. “We work with affective memory, with those who miss that rain cake that grandma used to make with her recipe,” he says.
The purpose of VoVs is to unite older people with a special ability with those interested in its products or services. According to Allen, culinary skills are the main thing, but there are many that offer handicraft services, the production of accessories, small repairs to clothes and shoes and even company for activities: a customer looked for a lady who would accompany her to the fair weekly to help pick fruits and vegetables like grandma used to do.
“There are also those who do repair services that no one else does. It’s easy to find someone who fixes a cell phone, it’s on every corner, but there’s no one who can get a cassette player”, she explains. Allen cites that the contingent of connected elderly people after the pandemic reaches 11 million people – and 95% of them access the internet via mobile. “In this process, I understood that technology could be a barrier, so the application is very easy, simple to use”, he says.
According to the entrepreneur, VoVs has logistics based on “cells” within smaller neighborhoods or regions – today it is in Campinas and in a neighborhood in São Paulo – and payments are made directly between the borrower and the service provider. The business model is based on in-app media and larger projects with companies, as well as mentoring for organizations that are hiring people over 60. “To start a business after 50, you have to be intergenerational, try to be with younger people. There are several dogmas that need to be broken”, says Allen.