My first step in helping people live 100 years

This article talks about one of the very first practical steps I’m taking in helping people reach a healthspan of 100 years or more: creating Dondy, the first online consultation platform, with a bunch of fellow entrepreneurs, exclusively dedicated to longevity and preventative health.

My own longevity journey

I’ve been followed for a while now by 2 medical doctors with expertise in preventative health and longevity, one in France, and one in the United States. I’ve learned a great deal about my body, my health, and my biggest risk factors when it comes to my genome. But having access to such experts at a reasonable price hasn’t been an easy feat:

-the standard primary care medical doctors, the ones you visit when you have a flu or a minor infection, were frustrated with me visiting them and having no specific problem (other than being healthy and aiming at staying like that as long as possible).

-there are luxury longevity clinics, such as Clinique La Prairie, mostly dedicated to celebrities such as Carla Bruni.

-there are private doctors such as Peter Attia, charging around $ 100 000 / year for his longevity expertise.

-there are more accessible longevity clinics, but only in the US, Israel, Dubai and other destinations, but none in France.

Long story short, none of them seemed to fit my need, which was to take care of my long term health through – 1. efficient, 2. informative and 3. self-empowering 4. no BS – longevity consultations at an affordable price. After searching a lot, I’ve found out the 2 doctors I’ve mentioned earlier, but what a challenge to get there! What a bumpy road! Only warriors and/or people with a lo(ooooooo)t of free time can get there!

Dondy: the idea and vision

Once upon a time, Bill Gates had a vision: “Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible”.

The audacity of Bill’s vision, but also the quality of the execution which came afterwards and turned his vision into reality inspired me. I said to myself: there are roughly 8 billion people on Earth, out of which 3 billion are older than 40 years old. Each one of these 3 billion people should have access to 1 longevity consultation per month. I would aim for the stars, but have my feet well on the ground on a daily basis to execute the plan.

I’ll be here to execute upon this vision on the long term, maybe 20 years, maybe more. I’m not here for short term profit or fame. I’m here to fix healthcare at global scale.

Practical aspects of Dondy

This is where the idea of creating a large global and affordable online longevity service came to my mind like a no-brainer: living the whole experience as an insider allowed me to imagine how this service should work:

-it would be a mix of medical expertise, life coaching and AI assistance. You see, optimizing your healthspan requires 5 levels of intervention: physical activity, food, sleep, mental health and supplements/drugs. It seems easy, but being specific about the details in each one of these aspects requires medical expertise, and differs greatly from person to person. Also, medical expertise is not enough, as lifestyle changes need self-discipline and dedication. Knowing what you have to do does not mean you’ll do it. This is where coaching and AI assistance comes into play: understand the kind of personality you have, and pushing for the right measures, at the right time, not too hard because you’ll quit, not too easy because it’s going to be insufficient. We’re dealing with medical expertise, but also with behavioural change. AI would “understand” patients and push only as much as needed.

-it would target from the start patients all across the world, no country boundaries, the world would be our playground from day 1.

-because of how sick care works nowadays, public welfare would not pay for these kind of preventative medical services, so first they would be targeting people who accept to pay for them from their pockets. Later on, we would convince health insurance systems to pay for it, and lower the price. We would be strong advocates of transitioning from sick care (go see the doctor when you’re sick and you have symptoms) to health care (avoid being sick in first place through pro active measures).

-we would measure biomarkers and progress, on a regular basis, and give people data on how they’re improving (or not), no BS, no stories, no make believe attitude. Just help people to the extent of how much they’re willing to put into living longer healthier. The most persistent and determined of us would have full programs, with physical activity, food restrictions, etc. However, the most comfortable would have light recommendations, just to make sure they stick to the program permanently. We would be accountable (and hold our patients accountable) for how much we improve their long term health.

-as medicine and science move forward at a breakneck pace, we would integrate new recommendations, new supplements/drugs, to always be at the edge of what is possible in longevity.

Business is business

No matter how well intentioned I am, on the one hand, CASH IS KING and on the other hand “Ideas are nothing, Execution is everything”. Profit makes the difference between a failure and a success, so the venture needed to be sustainable from the business point of view. This is where the uniqueness of France came in handy:

– France has a rich and untapped academic community, with excellent scientists, doctors and engineers. I would fully leverage this unique advantage.

– France has a very generous public funding system for innovation in AI and health, under the form of non-dilutive funding. I would fully leverage this advantage also.

For the first time in my life, creating a startup in France would not only not be a drawback, it would be a terrific advantage. However, instead of limiting myself to small niche local markets, as many startups do, I would target all the countries in the world, from day 1.

The service would use a freemium SaaS business model, because it is so strong, so resilient, and so scalable.

The dream team

This project is not an individual project, it needs an army of dedicated and mission-driven people. Along the way, I was lucky enough to meet the right people to start this venture:

Guillaume Agis . Great technical skills, great experience as an entrepreneur. Swiss knife, doing everything quickly and well.

Maxime Kamrani . Visionary AI engineer, with long term views on longevity. Great networker, knows everyone in Longevity worldwide. Attends all the events all the conferences in the field, everyone likes him.

Denys Coester . One of the very first medical doctors and experts in Biohacking in France. Extensive and practical experience in behavioural change in patients. Medical doctor, but also coach and hypnotherapist.

me 🙂

What’s next?

In the very next weeks, we will focus on the following very practical goals:
– incorporate the startup
– create am MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
– integrate into a startup incubator
– get the first financing (from public non-dilutive subsidies)
– onboard the very first few customers

By the way, if you’re interested in the initiative, please sign up to our waiting list, so that we’ll be able to let you know as soon as our service becomes available!

Mapping the longevity ecosystem

This article is a summary of what I’ve learned through the whole year 2023 about the longevity ecosystem, by talking to as many scientists, entrepreneurs, influencers, policy makers and investors I could. The longevity community is vibrant and dynamic, but very small and niche. Thanks to the tremendous scientific progress from the last 15 years, we are the first generation of humans for whom indefinite lifespan is an ambitious yet attainable goal. However, the future depends on us and we have to create it by ourselves.

The structure of the longevity ecosystem

The longevity ecosystem is split in 2 subgroups:

– the “healthspanners”. This group of people advocates for the more modest yet realistic approach of taking into consideration the state of knowledge on longevity as it is now, and applying it to the population. There is reasonable evidence that a mix of lifestyle choices (physical activity, food, sleep & mental health), and drugs/supplements, can extend an average human life in good health by 20 years or more. It requires self-discipline, a long term proactive mindset, but it is 100% realistic and within our reach as of today. With some tweaks, and some foreseeable medical breakthroughs yet to come in the next decades (but nothing crazy or science-fiction), the average human lifespan could be further extended even more. However, these basic methods will not allow humans to live beyond 120 years, which seems to be the ultimate hard limit for the human species as we know it.

– the “lifespanners”. This group of people aims for “radical life extension”. They don’t want to live only 10 or 20 years, but 100 years longer, or maybe even reach “indefinite lifespan”. However, in order to reach such a goal, and break the limit of the 120 years lifespan, humans have to re-engineer themselves at the cellular/genetic level. This is where fascinating research and development in longevity comes into play, with some top notch scientists working on crazy projects such as cryopreservation, organ 3D printing, gene therapies, stem cell treatments, cellular reprogramming, organ replacement and regenerative medicine. However, these projects are about fundamental R&D in biology, which is by definition a long term, uncertain – high risk high reward – initiative. Because of these features (long term + uncertainty), there is very little private money invested in it. At the same time, public funding, which should finance fundamental R&D, is inaccessible to longevity research because from the legal point of view, aging is not considered (yet) as a disease. Without private nor public money, the lifespanners’ field is dramatically underfunded, living at the expense of some rare billionaires who fund a couple of startups (ex. Altos Labs, Calico, Retro Biosciences, etc …) and in so doing they further push the field in the unfortunate position where the public opinion associates it with yet another spoiled rich people’s hobby.

Reaching indefinite lifespan

As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. But how do we create a world in which humans can live as long as they want?

Well, the best and most realistic mental model to reach this difficult but reachable goal involves audacity, a unique combination of short term and long term plans, as well as a notion called “longevity escape velocity”.

The action plan to reach indefinite lifespan requires decades to execute, and involves 3 components :

– the first component is an ecosystem of profit making longevity companies. The time is ripe for “healthspan” startups to be created and pave the way to the transition from the “sick care” – where people wait to be sick before they see a doctor, and when they do it’s often too late – to “health care” – where the approach is to monitor one’s health to prevent disease long before it actually occurs. This transition from “sick care” to “health care” is in itself ambitious and hard to succeed, because it requires dramatic changes in society, against very well organized and powerful groups of interest: the pharmaceutical industry, which needs to transition from selling expensive treatments to sick people, to selling preventative medical services to healthy people; the agrifood industry, which produces unhealthy but cheap and tasteful food; medical services and doctors, who in most countries are educated and live on treating sick people, and do not support preventative medicine; last but not least, politicians and Governments, who have to do more to promote healthy lifestyles. Despite the obstacles, this shift from sick care to health care is a short term realistic step towards living longer and healthier.

– the second component is an ecosystem of NGOs, think tanks and influencers, whose role is to bear the longevity projects which are not profitable (at least not directly and/or not in the short term). These projects can be financed by the aforementioned profitable “healthspan” companies, as part of the longer term strategy. Indeed, the transition from “sick care” to “health care” will allow people to live 20 years longer, but in order to go beyond, fundamental R&D needs to start right now, so that in a couple of decades, research projects starting now will hopefully yield positive results in 20 or 30 years. Thus, if the short term game is to create and fund as many profitable longevity “healthspan” companies, the long term game involves different projects, such as: a bottom up strategy, consisting in awakening the public opinion to the prospect of living longer healthier; a top down approach, consisting in reaching out to political decision makers, and advocating for larger public budgets for fundamental R&D in longevity; last but not least, funding and creating more “moonshot” longevity biotech startups.

– the third and last component of the overall strategy consists in applying the “longevity escape velocity” principle to our own lives, to benefit from the first 2 components – the short and long term action plans. Indeed, we can create and use the services of the “healthspan” companies to optimize our healthspan using common and accessible medical knowledge as of today. This will preserve us longer, and will increase the likelyhood of still being in good health in a couple of decades, when – if we execute well on the longer term plan – fundamental R&D will deliver new scientific breakthroughs. This will in turn allow us to benefit from those futuristic technologies, that will be available at that time, which may prolong our lifespan even more. This “longevity escape velocity” is a beautiful notion that dramatically increases our odds of success, because the probability that we would discover the cure against ageing in 40 years is lower than the probability of discovering a set of sequential less ambitious treatment (say every decade we discover something that allows us to live a decade more), which could ultimately lead to the final understanding of the aging process and how to stop or revert it.

Practical steps

The best solution I could come up with is to create a two-headed legal structure:

– a startup studio, that will incubate profit making longevity startups.

– a foundation, that will own a major portion of the shares (if not all) of the startup studio. This foundation will bear the unprofitable projects (nevertheless necessary for the end game), such as political advocacy, public opinion campaigns, as well as the fundamental R&D in the biology of aging.

Doing this requires a lifetime of dedication for an army of people, if you think it’s worth it, join me!