This week’s conversation is with Sergey Young, a longevity investor with a mission to extend healthy lifespans of at least one billion people.
Building on his investment expertise, which spans over 20 years, Sergey founded the $100M Longevity Vision Fund to accelerate life extension breakthroughs and to make them affordable and accessible to all.
The investment focus of Longevity Vision Fund includes technologies, products, and services that extend healthy human lifespans and mitigate the negative effects of aging
Sergey also manages a $2bln private equity fund and heads Peak State Ventures, a US-based fund with a focus on new technologies in real estate, digital healthcare and the Future of Work.
He’s an Innovation Board member at XPRIZE Foundation, Development Sponsor of Age Reversal XPRIZE, and a Forbes Tech Council member.
In this conversation, we discuss which breakthrough technologies Sergey is investing in to help people live longer.
For Sergey, what’s possible from a technological standpoint is exciting, but that’s not all that matters.
“I do think that in 20 years from now, we’re going to have tools and technologies which would make a living to 150 possible.”
In This Episode:
The first chapter is my first 25 years, and it was a chapter full of challenges because I was born in Russia, it was perestroika. And very quickly, I realized that I need to work full-time and study full-time to make sure my future is bright, but have bread and butter, and my parents and my big family have bread and butter as well; so it was a lot of challenges. The next chapter between 25 and 45 years was more about career. And I was investing hell of a lot of my time in making myself one of the best investors to the extent you can rely on that. And I was actually neglecting the importance of so many things in my life: my health, my mindset, and peace of mind, time with my kids, with family, the overall balance, and I was a money making machine, rather than a balanced human being.
His current focus
Sharing the best of me with the world, and making the world a better place. So it started, probably, five years ago when I realized that mental health and physical health is super important for my happiness and my overall satisfaction with life, and my ability to realize my biggest dreams, and so that’s changed quite a lot. My life is less about money today more about the impact. My mission is actually to change the world and bring affordable and accessible version of longevity to at least one billion people.
Having a health crisis
It was such a huge wake up call, it was just another realization that there’s so many important things in life which are much more important than just making money. And your own health is, obviously, super important as it does define the quality and the quantity of your life; so this is where this whole thing started. The majority of people start to think about health and longevity after this kind of wake up calls. It’s either a radical deterioration of their own health, or loss, or radical duration of health of a loved one. So that’s the unfortunate reality of how we humans start to think about this.
The more kind things you do, the more kind things is coming back to you. The world is giving you back the whole kindness that you give into the world. I know it’s may sounds really pathetic and idealistic, but it’s really fulfilling to give a hand of help to someone, specifically who is in very difficult situation. And it doesn’t matter what its psychological situation, or financial situation, physical sometimes. And I was so inspired by this positive feedback loop that I’ve created with small little steps of doing act of kindness.
His approach to facing hard moments
Winter is my metaphorical season for the difficult times. So winter is just one of the seasons. And when it’s really difficult, really tough, I always remind myself that, “Well this is just one of the seasons.” And I have to live with that, and that’s actually okay to have a lot of problems sometimes, and it goes in waves.
Reframing problem solving
I’m actually trying to enjoy the process of solving the problems. So I’m redefining this whole thing from, “Well just another problem, we all have more gray hairs.” I mean it’s, “How am I going to do it.” Into, “Oh wow, that’s exciting, I haven’t seen such an amazing problem. Well let’s tackle that.”
Winning isn’t the only thing that matters
I started decreasing this whole internal and external importance of being the winner. And once you have a mindset that you trying to make someone else champion, is switch your focus from your ego, you desire to prove something to yourself, to your mom, to people around you into trying to find the best in the other person; so well that’s just another interesting.
His definition of luck
It’s derived from your consistent application of the effort to solve so many problems. I think it was Walt Disney who was knocking on 300 doors, bringing the business plan for the new project called Disney World. 300 doors, right? And for us when we give up on trying to do something one, or two, or three times, I think it’s just really unfair to ourselves. If this is really important for you, you should be prepared to give 100 efforts, try 100 times. Even if 99% of this is going to be unsuccessful, it’s still worth doing this.
Going where others won’t
The good news about problems is that they scare a lot of people; not only you. So by going into troubleshooting mode and in particular troubling situation, natural your competition decreases massively. So it’s only you and just another guy, and another guy who are brave enough to sustain. You want to compete with one, two, or three, not against 200.
Connecting mind, body, and heart
The only tool that I use today is meditation. Because what it does is it connects my kind of mind, and body, and my heart. And when you in doubt or in difficult station, go here, your heart knows the answer. So that’s actually meditation is helping me to come back to my roots as human being, not as a rational human being living in my path, and try to live in my heart.
How he defines longevity
Whatever increase the average lifespan and health span in the world is longevity for me. Some people take very narrow lenses here. But at the end of the day, the beauty of this pretty general definition is that I’m really agnostic about the tools that we can use, or I can support, or people can develop to for us to live longer and add 5, 10, 15 healthy and happy years to our life. So it can be things like meditation, neurofeedback, having a sense of purpose, doing acts of kindness is just another way to bring healthy and happy longevity to our life.
Which breakthrough technologies will make a difference in helping people live longer?
Gene therapy, organ regeneration, organ replacement, stem cells therapies, developing different kind of drugs against longevity or age related disease — in the next 10 to 20 years. Then there’s the next phase — digital version of ourselves, human brain AI integration, replaceable body parts, and basically or internet the body and changing the definition of the human. But this is really far away, this is 25 to 50 years from now, so I’m not particularly focused on that.
How long can we expect to live with new technology available?
I do think that in 20 years from now, we’re going to have tools and technologies which would make a living to 150 possible.
What’s the most important thing you can do for your health?
I tell people do the most comprehensive version of annual health checkup, and this is super important. The reason being is that if you catch killer monsters like cancer, heart disease, diabetes early on, your recovery rates is just amazing. Every dollar spent on early diagnostic has 10 to 20 times saving effect in terms of your future health care costs.