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Horizons: Family Office & Investor Magazine

Longevity: Possibly the Largest Investment Opportunity in the Coming Decades

Monday, September 21, 2020

Dr. Tobias Reichmuth is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Since 2019 he takes part in “Hohle der Lowen”, the Swiss version of the TV investor show “Shark-Tank”. He has invested in various tech start-ups, where he also holds advisory or board mandates.

In 2009 he has founded SUSI Partners, a EUR 1.5bn infrastructure fund manager with a focus on fighting climate change, after several years of strategy consulting experience at The Boston Consulting Group and after having sold his first company.

Tobias has also co-founded The Singularity Group, a Swiss/Luxembourg based fund- manager with a focus on exponential technology used in all sectors, as well as Crypto Finance Group, the leading institutional cryptocurrency service and infrastructure provider and asset manager. He is also the initiator and president of Cryto Finance Conference (CfC) St. Moritz, the world’s most exclusive blockchain and digital money investor conference.


Marc is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded the party platform usgang.ch in his 20s (trade sale to Axel Springer Media). He is also a co-founder of amiando, a ticketing platform, which was purchased by Xing and was named “Global Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

After these two exits Marc has been active as a fintech investor (Partner of NextGFI, Venture Partner of Orange Growth Capital, Advisory Board of FinLeap, ...) and he explored Bitcoin in 2012.

Today, Marc is a Board Member of Crypto Finance Group and CfC St. Moritz and part of the expert network for Blockchain and Digital Economy of the WEF.

Marc holds a master’s degree in law from the University of Zurich and did the Executive Program at Singularity University.

Matthias Knab: Welcome to my (virtual, of course) fireside chat the two Swiss serial entrepreneurs Dr. Tobias Reichmuth and Marc P. Bernegger who are behind the Longevity Investors Conference (https://www.longevityinvestors.ch/), an online event on October 1st with some of the world’s leading experts such as David Sinclair, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Nir Barzilai and leading investors in this sector, e.g. Jim Mellon (Juvenescence), Patrick Burgermeister (Kizoo Family Office), Dr. Alexandra Bause (Co-Founder, Apollo Health Ventures) or Dr. Joon Yun, Palo Alto Investors.

I wonder, how did you get interested in longevity from an investment perspective?

Dr. Tobias Reichmuth: Marc and I attended the Singularity University in Palo Alto in 2016, where you learn about exponential technologies. I was stunned how far we were already with the research of how to live longer, to live healthier and maybe even on how to fight death. One train of thought we got exposed to is seeing death not as something inevitable but more of a combination of sicknesses which you can actually fight.

I think there are three levels of fighting aging: One is doing sports, trying to eat healthy, take care of getting good sleep, etc. The second level is taking precautionary measures with the right medication, e.g. Metformin. The third level, which is not yet that far advanced, is genetical engineering. I was surprised how far and how fast research is developing in that field and pretty soon I realized that longevity research is going to be a gamechanger.

If people get 120 years old and stay healthy until they die, everything changes. The economy, pension funds, living forms, our entire social systems will change. This also means that we will see many investment opportunities in different industries and sectors. For those reasons I took a big interest in the topic. I am convinced that this is one of the major investment topics in the 21st century.

With the Longevity Investors Conference (LIC), we have created a forum with the top researchers and the most knowledgeable investors in this field. The LIC provides access to knowledge in this field, allows to identify investment opportunities and to network.

Marc P. Bernegger: As you know, Tobias and I are among the founders of the Crypto Finance Conference which takes place in St. Moritz right before the World Economic Forum where we also managed to attract very high level investors from all over the world.

We realized that the longevity space is one of the few emerging industries where an increasing number of people are interested in understanding it first and then also figuring out how to invest in the space. What makes our event special is that we are doing it as an investors’ only conference and exclusively focus on those two aspects.

Matthias Knab: You mentioned that you are looking at longevity also from an investment perspective since 2016. Can you share with us some details of your own track record as investors in longevity? What have you done so far, what has worked out?

Dr. Tobias Reichmuth: Right after attending Singularity University, I decided to engage in the longevity topic and invested in a company called Altoida; Marc also invested in that one. Altoida is identifying Alzheimer very early using big data technology. This allows to slow down the illness, and hopefully in the future to prevent it. The company is up and running, there have been several venture rounds already and the potential is huge.

Another investment I have done in this field is Retrobrain, helping seniors to stay more active with the help of tailormade and interactive video games - another quite amazing company where I have achieved a nice multiplicator when exiting.

Since there are more seniors who are fit and active, I have also invested in Seniors@Work, a platform for to match jobs/tasks with seniors willing to work and use their talent and experience. The platform takes care of insurances, etc., and really provides great value for all participants. Next to those direct investments, I am also investing through funds where you can get exposure to diversified investments.

There are some interesting venture funds out there, some of which are also speaking at the Longevity Investors Conference.

Marc P. Bernegger: By now, Altoida already works with more than 5,000 patients, so it’s really becoming a substantial business when you look at the numbers and also at the investors involved.

Neither Tobias nor myself are by education scientists that are very deep in the medical or the broader longevity space, so the normal investment approach would be as an LP of a fund where you can get a diversified exposure to the whole space.

I would also say that the typical investors we aim to attract to our conference isn’t really looking to become an longevity expert and investor who will then go very deeply into the individual business case and looks at individual startups, but would probably rather focus on identifying the right experts to do this job. And so from that perspective, we ultimately want to present other investors and ideally the most respective ones at our conference.

One person that comes to mind is Jim Mellon, a very wealthy Scottish businessmen who made this fortune in the traditional financial services who for some time now has been allocating a substantial amount of it into this new emerging longevity field. People like him can give very valuable and substantial insights to other future investors into this industry.

Dr. Tobias Reichmuth:To add on that: it’s interesting to see how self-made billionaires focus on the topic of longevity. To be mentioned are famous Peter Thiel or also Frank Schuler, for example, who has built a family office exclusively around the topic of longevity. His family office investment manager will be speaking at the conference as well.

This topic is one which moves people. Next to making a nice profit, they share the interest of staying healthy and living longer. With their investments, they support research we will all benefit of. Longevity investments therefore provide a double dividend, not only a financial return, but also support scientific progress. I think this is the motivation of many of the investors in that field.

Matthias Knab: What would you say is the promise of your longevity investors conference?

Marc P. Bernegger: Firstly I think it’s education: as you have seen on the schedule, we were able to secure some of the most relevant scientists as speakers who will help the conference participants to build and expand their understanding what longevity really means.

As we mentioned, longevity is not a mainstream topic yet, it is not as visible as other industries, and that’s also why it’s also something we want to cover, including the investment aspect of it.

Dr. Tobias Reichmuth: Correct, education is number one, understanding investment opportunities and strategies is number two, however, a close third is the networking. At and after the Longevity Investors Conference we aim to facilitate a closed community interaction: you can meet and interact with those movers and shakers in the industry which really bring this topic forward. If today you ask your private banker, “Hey, what should I do on the topic of longevity?”, the private banker will most likely answer, “What is longevity?”. It’s not a well-known topic and therefore the exchange with other investors and simply being able to ask your peers on “How do you tackle that topic?” can be tremendously helpful.

Finally, let’s not forget that we will also be talking about measures to actively prolong your life – what medicaments can you take already today in order to stay healthy and to live longer? Is Metformin and NAD really working?

At our Crypto Finance Conference, we had a double digit number of billionaires personally present, and also for the Longevity Investors Conference we already got several subscriptions of billionaires attending themselves. Most of them are now in their 50s and above and tend to really take the topic serious. They are not wrong when they are saying, “I do have the means to move something in this field. I would like to understand what is happening and meet like-minded investors.” And that’s what our conference is doing: as a peers only conference, we don’t invite private bankers or lawyers. It’s an investor conference where, whoever you talk with, you can really meet other investors on eye-level. That’s exactly what the Longevity Investors Conference stands for.



 
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