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'Uber for carers' startup raises ?13m to buy struggling home care firms

A startup dubbed the “Uber for carers” has raised $17m (?12.5m) to help fund its plan to transform the struggling home care industry by buying up failing providers and moving their patients and carers onto its digital platform.
Cera, which is backed by Standard Chartered’s ex-chief executive Peter Sands and counts former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg among its advisers, will use the cash to expand beyond its current focus on London and the south-east by taking over companies in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.
The industry is in crisis, with councils struggling on thin budgets and more than 1.2m elderly people missing out on the care they need, according to Age UK.
But Cera’s founder, Ben Maruthappu, said the company can cut costs and improve standards by digitising rotas and logistics and operating at a larger scale than existing providers, many of which have just a handful of carers on their books.  
Mr Maruthappu told The Daily Telegraph Cera is “already in deep discussions” about taking over “several” home care companies and expects to make its first acquisition “imminently”.
'Uber for carers' startup raises ?13m to buy struggling home care firms

Cera's founder Ben Maruthappu said his technology can improve care by making it more efficient
Cera claims to be able to let those in need of a carer book one online, responding to enquiries within an hour and in most cases starting care on the same day when requested. Its carers regularly record patients' medical information using a smartphone app, and the company claims it can use the data collected to predict when they are likely to fall ill and take preventative action.
The funding comes from investors including Guinness Asset Management and venture capital firm Yabeo. Cera plans to use some of the cash to make its first overseas foray into Germany, where Yabeo is based. 
Care
Mr Maruthappu said: “The German market is interesting because the population compared to the UK is actually older and the care market is even more fragmented.”
Last week a report by Bloomberg claimed people close to Cera had posted fake reviews on the website Trustpilot, which said it had deleted some of the posts.
Cera said: “We have looked into this, and TrustPilot have removed unverified reviews.”
Cera also plans to launch a new service “CeraFlex”, which will allow those who currently use live-in and full-day carers to save money by allowing them to visit other patients when they are not required.
Other members of the startup’s star-studded top team include Ankur Jain, formerly a senior executive at Tinder, and Philip Young, previously senior counsel at US telecoms giant Liberty Global.
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