We started Starts at 60 in 2013 with the ambition of bringing together online the growing number of people who were coming into this super-exciting life stage of their lives: turning 60, tasting freedom from work and family commitments, and starting to live their own dreams. People joined us in droves and we formed the largest digital community of over-60s in the world, anchored by our awesome media output, which ranges from fun ‘trending’ stories to helpful information and serious discussion points, and the conversation our community has about this media, and everything else under the sun!
We pride ourselves on giving a loudspeaker to the voice and listening to the heartbeat of the Baby Boomer generation, and seeking out ways to make our readers’ lives better, more fun and more exciting. The news, inspiration, stories, offers and travel deals you see on the outside are just the skin of something far more special, which is a real community of millions of people who’ve all got one big thing in common – they’re at a great stage of life. They want to talk about it, experience it, share it and find better ways to live it.
We’ve grown to become an award-winning, community-loving, conversation-filled explosion of colour, energy, experiences and entertainment every day. And we’re using our increasing strength in numbers to bring our community a better deal on everything we possibly can. We’ve built a community platform, media outlet and membership offering that all serve each other, telling our stories, sharing our voices, finding better products and services and dreaming about ever-greater experiences.
Starts at 60 started in March 2013 in the home of founder, Rebecca Wilson, who watched her parents looking for more out of life as they entered their 60s, in a way that all the existing online outlets seemed to ignore. Armed with a simple website that she made herself, while working a day job and juggling a young family, Rebecca started writing stories early in the morning and late at night, and encouraging online conversations about them on the website and on Facebook. Soon, over-60s joined her to write their own stories and from there Starts at 60 started to grow.
As the 60-plus writers wrote and talked online, more and more people joined in the conversation. As the growing community dissected the day’s news, and reminisced about their childhoods and family-rearing years as well as looked forward to a fun future, many formed friendships, online and in person, and the sincere passion behind the stories and the chats shone out online in a sea of undifferentiated media. It was like ‘talkback on the internet’ just for Baby Boomers.
People loved what Starts at 60 was bringing them, but Rebecca knew that to publish and facilitate discussions every day at no cost to readers, building a small business with sponsors and advertisers was needed. The second Starts at 60 site, an upgrade from the very simple launch site, was created in September 2014, along with a more professional logo and voice that could attract the support of advertisers. Sure enough, Starts at 60 quickly found a sponsor. We will always remember the team at Aveo, the retirement property group, for backing us with Starts at 60’s our first-ever annual sponsorship deal. It was a big turning point for the future of this community and small business.
Starts at 60 created a team of journalists who could bring readers stories quickly and accurately so there was more to discuss, and in September 2015 the still-small team moved out of Rebecca’s home office and into a tiny but professional workspace. At the same time, the site’s group of at-home bloggers grew to number hundreds of people, forming its own community of keen writers who produced pieces that resonated strongly with readers because they were so honest and from the heart. The combination of speedy news and real-life stories saw Starts at 60’s Facebook community surge to hit 300,000 people in January 2016.
Having become the voice of Aussie over-60s, with heaps of support from our community, and with an ambition to serve the Baby Boomer demographic worldwide, in February 2016 Starts at 60 welcomed Seven West Media (SWM) as an investor. We also set up a board of directors, who helped us run Starts at 60 in a way that would support our growth. SWM, which owns Channel 7, brought media professionalism and promotion capability we could only dream of and its funding was invested in making Starst at 60 an even more extraordinary community, media brand, and eventually, a travel company.
We outgrew our little office and committed to the future by moving to a larger building in Brisbane’s West End, in September 2015. Seven people moved in to this big space, fit for 40 people, and we wondered if the company would ever need all that room. But Starts at 60’s bigger HQ meant we could now employ its first web and software developers to improve the site and the content that went to Facebook, as Starts at 60 recorded huge amounts of online traffic each day. Over the next year, the in-house team, community of writers, advertisers and sponsors grew.
The office filled up!
Starts at 60 launched community meet-ups in March 2016 to enable our warm online community to get together in public venues each month. Our meet-ups are held on the first Tuesday of every month and there is often up to 50 events around the country each month, hosted by passionate community ambassadors. You can find your closest here or contact us to host your own.
For almost a year we worked on the creation of Travel at 60, a media brand and marketplace where our community could find ‘travel experiences’ that were worth considering for their next adventures. And in September 2016 the first edition of the site was launched! With swift learning, it has evolved to a stunning travel experience. Travel at 60 serves up interesting media, blogs from keen 60-plus travellers, and marketplace that offers a wide range of holidays from more than 15 well-known travel brands. You can check out Travel at 60 and sign up for the Travel at 60 deals emails here
If we were to build a sustainable team, culture and operation that would do our community justice, we needed experts in media, technology and finance to bring a bigger Starts at 60 to life. So, in January 2017 we welcomed Liam McLennan as chief technology officer, Christine Seib as chief content officer and Brett Wilson as chief operations officer. Later, Shaun Alexander joined the team as Chief Revenue Officer too.
With 1.2 million community members, higher ratios of engagement on Facebook than any other media brand, a passionate group of amazing bloggers, and a team of 25 journalists, developers and operations experts, we were humbled when we were awarded the Mumbrella Media Brand of the Year in Australia in July 2017, up against brands like Vice, Taste and Cricket Australia. At just four years old, our little business, hard-working team, and dedicated group of community writers loved this recognition, and it went a long way to helping more people understand what Starts at 60 is all about.
Many people assume that 60-somethings are ‘old’ (and we know you’re not!). We decided we needed to be able to show the world just how vibrant and energetic the Starts at 60 community is, so we went back to the drawing board and rebuilt our brand around our values and the values of our community. Bright colours, high contrast, and the bold ‘60’ emblem were launched and everyone loved it. We were all proud of being a place where over-60s could make their voice heard. And the new logo won a world-standard Silver Fern in brand design in July 2017, so we knew we weren’t alone in thinking it was cool!
To bring our new brand, our growing voice and our more professional look and feel together, we launched a new Starts at 60 site in October 2017, complete with responsive mobile-first page designs and deep media-technology underneath the hood.
It puts us at the absolute forefront of digital media functionality, and it was all built by our internal technology team.
In 2017 we’ve welcomed a handful of significant sponsors. The Westpac Group, St.George Bank, Hachette, Industry SuperFunds and Uniting have become cornerstone partners of Starts at 60 and we urge you to understand these companies that really care for our community.
After publishing to a global audience every day from our base in Australia for some time, we felt it important to deliver our content in a more tailored way to our Aussie and US communities. Starts at 60 USA kicked off in September 2017, with an online community of several hundred thousand people quickly joining us.