Discover more from Looking Forward by Stephen Johnston
LF42 | I've taken a role with Japanese insurance and nursing company SOMPO to work on helping 'healthy longevity' go mainstream.
Every so often an opportunity comes along that just feels right. Joining SOMPO as a ‘Healthy Longevity Fellow’, as I’ve done this month, was one of those.
I’ve been working with them as a consultant for over 5 years as they’ve been starting to focus on this space, and now they’re ramping up their activities. I’ll be joining Albert and Kevin who lead SOMPO Digital Lab in the Bay Area, and will be based out of Melbourne.
Of all the companies I’ve got to know over the past few years SOMPO and their US-based SOMPO Digital Lab is one of the most interesting. For those not familiar with them, here’s a background:
A unique profile of Japanese insurance and nursing. They’re Japanese but global - 80,000 employees across 30 countries, with a market cap of around $15bn, depending on the exchange rate. They’re a 130 year old insurance company but also have the largest number of nursing home beds in Japan (but still less than 2% of the fragmented market). As such they are at the bleeding edge of dealing with an aging population.
Investing in innovation with Palantir and egaku. They’re looking to radically transform their business and in the process deploy several hundred million dollars in the next few years to accelerate their innovation agenda. This will range from external investments to in-house products. They recently put $500m into a joint venture with Palantir to set up Palantir Japan and develop new data platform capabilities, one of which has just launched as egaku.
Pioneering a Pin Koro Society. The CEO, Kengo Sakurada, has been championing the concept of a ‘Pin Koro Society’, i.e. one in which you (to paraphrase) ‘live long, die short’. They’re doubling down on this approach and developing a number of products, services and partnerships to make that happen.
Over the next few months I’ll be working with the team at SOMPO Digital Labs to put more meat on the bones of the healthy longevity agenda. So if you’re a reader of this newsletter, don’t be surprised if I call you up for a chat about the future.
The new part-time role won’t impact Looking Forward, in fact it’ll likely just give me more good material. Expect to see a lot more healthy longevity stories.