High-growth startup Elder raises further £8.2m in bid to displace the care home
London, 20 January 2020: Elder, a leading care home alternative, has raised another £8.2m funding round as its technology-enabled live-in care service gains nationwide popularity, bringing the total raised to £16.5m.
Elder is one of the UK’s fastest-growing startups and has delivered more than 350,000 days of care in more than 300 towns and cities across the UK since 2016 – with the Outer Hebrides being the only remaining area where care is yet to be delivered.
By allowing the customer to stay in their own home and providing a bespoke, personalised care match, Elder is proving to be the first genuine solution to the growing social care crisis.
With the number of over-85s in the UK set to nearly double to 3 million by 2043, there’s a huge looming capacity black hole, as the indebted and fragmented residential care sector fails to meet rising demand.
Meanwhile, Elder is delivering capacity rapidly and at scale. This latest investment from Acton Capital and MMC Ventures is set to speed this further, with a host of planned developments in technology driving efficiency in every aspect of care delivery – from better communication between carer and family to in-home monitoring.
Elder Co-Founder and CEO, Peter Dowds, who previously saw success with the home services marketplace, Mopp, said:
‘This is an exciting time for Elder customers and families everywhere who are looking for vital support and care. This new funding will be used to further improve our live-in care experience so even more people up and down the UK can make sure their loved ones get to remain happy, independent and supported in their own home rather than being forced out of it and into a care home.
‘It is great to have the continued backing of MMC Ventures and to welcome Acton Capital on board. Their shared experience will be invaluable as we continue on our journey. I look forward to working with them.’
Sebastian Wossagk, Managing Partner at Acton Capital, reflected on the fund’s investment in Elder:
‘With life expectancy increasing fast, we need to rethink how to deliver care and to prevent a looming ageing crisis. A vast majority of an ageing population would prefer not to move to a nursing home, if they become incapable of caring for themselves. As home care is becoming more of a need than an option for many, we are convinced that Elder has the potential to really enhance their lives.’
‘Elderly care is a significant part of the future of healthcare, but it’s a segment with a high degree of sensitivity. The business model and especially Elder’s team convinced us, as investors, to support the company to take on the responsible task of enhancing the overall quality of care.’
Bruce Mcfarlane, from long-term investors, MMC, explained their decision to back the company over the last three years:
‘The UK urgently needs solutions to the demands of an ageing population that expects high-quality late-life care but the cost of building and operating traditional care homes to the level required means that demand cannot be met by existing systems.
‘Elder provides a solution. By allowing customers to stay in their own homes and be matched with carers who provide the companionship they desire, Elder is delivering a more efficient, cost-effective and better experience for those needing care and their concerned families.
‘The team at Elder have consistently executed on their vision to provide better, tech-enabled social care and we’re excited to continue supporting the team at Elder in its next stage of growth.’
The investment comes as a recent study found live-in care has the potential to reduce the likelihood of an elderly person being admitted to hospital. With the chance of a fall reduced by up to 33% and hip fracture by up to 46% compared to residential care.
But for Elder customer, Dulcie from Wiltshire (102 years old), being able to maintain her routine and autonomy has been the most important aspect of receiving care at home.
“I like to be independent and I’ve always been able to be independent. I prefer to be able to do my own things, have what I want. Whereas if you go to a care home, you’ve got to eat what they produce. It’s not the same I shouldn’t think.”
Dulcie’s daughter and son in law, Mary and Colin, highlighted the importance of the right match in making live-in care a success:
‘The carer cares totally and is totally committed to looking after her. It’s so reassuring. She has become part of the family. She immediately was. As soon as she arrived we knew she was the right person. She’s always chatting with Dulcie about what she’s doing, things in the paper.
‘The potential of having live-in care is a hell of a benefit. One that I would recommend to anyone.’
Elder is a technology-enabled care agency, and one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK. It helps provide live-in care – an alternative to the care home that allows elderly loved ones to get the full-time, specialist support they need in the place they belong, their own home.
It does this by matching self-employed live-in carers to families in need. Using proprietary logistical and matching technology, Elder can get a carer matched on individual needs and personality to any location in the UK within 48 hours.
It’s a scalable and sustainable model that is meeting demand where the traditional residential sector cannot. Every 12 days the company delivers additional capacity to the market equivalent to an average-sized care home.
Having recently been named the third-fastest growing company in the UK, Elder is in pole position to meet the social care capacity requirements of a rapidly ageing population. Doing its bit to answer one of the big questions of our time – ‘what does it mean to grow old?’
MMC Ventures is a research-led venture capital firm which has backed more than 60 high-growth technology companies from the Seed and Series A stage since 2000.
MMC’s dedicated research function enables the firm to have a deeper understanding of the businesses it backs and supports them with strategic projects throughout MMC’s investment.
MMC focuses on scaling enterprise software and consumer internet companies with the potential to disrupt huge markets. The firm has one of the largest SaaS portfolios in Europe and recent SaaS exits include CloudSense, Invenias and NewVoiceMedia. MMC also has a dynamic B2C portfolio including Interactive Investor, Bloom & Wild and Gousto.
Elder is redefining what it means to age by providing a genuine alternative to the care home.
1 January 2016
Scope and scale of business
Elder has helped deliver over 350,000 days of care in every postcode of the UK apart from the Orkney Isles.
Elder is headquartered on City Road, near Silicon Roundabout in Old Street, London. It also has regional offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, and Edinburgh.
The company currently has 85 employees.
Elder helps match families with live-in care professionals. It means a lower cost for the family and more flexibility for the carer.
Pete Dowds, Co-Founder and CEO
Social care – a system in crisis.
- According to a recent report by Independent Age, since 2000 more than 330,000 older people have had to sell their homes to pay for care costs. (1)
- One in 10 who enter the care system end up paying over £100,000 in fees. (2)
- There’s a condition lottery. While the typical cost of an individual’s dementia care is £100,000, it’s not paid for by the NHS – unlike other medical conditions such as after-stroke care and cancer. (3)
- About 4m older people – nearly half the over 65 population – have care needs. But only 850,000 qualify for state help. (4)
- Once those who fund themselves are taken into account, the number getting help in their own home rises to about 850,000 and in care and nursing homes to about 450,000. (4)
The ageing population – we’re getting older.
- It’s forecast the number of over 65s with a Iife-limiting or terminal illness, whose day-to-day activities are significantly limited will reach three million by 2025, a rise of almost 30%. (5)
- Over 65s account for 80% of the nation’s wealth, possessing more than £1.7trn of mortgage-free housing wealth. (6)
- In 50 years the number of people over 65 will be the same as today’s population of London. That’ll be accompanied by a huge increase in the over 85s and centenarians. (7)
- By 2037 there are projected to be 1.42 million more households headed by someone aged 85 or over – an increase of 161% over 25 years. (8)
- By 2050, over 65s will account for more than 30% of the electorate. A section of the electorate who make their vote count over 80% of the time. (9)
Care homes can’t cope – care is going to be delivered in the home.
- Over 420 providers have failed since 2010 (10). 1 in 4 currently financially unsustainable. (11)
- Aggressive ‘leaseback’ agreements, by which companies opened, sold and leased back homes were often predicated on infeasible returns of 12% or higher. (12)
- In 2017, the latest figures, care home insolvencies soared by 83%. (13)
- Since 2016, there’s an average of additional 5,000 requests for social care support per day to local authorities (14). Department of Health data shows the lead time to plan, build and staff a care home means that they can’t respond to demand.
- 72% of care homes are between 20-30 years old, some are older still. (15)
- The CMA has found care home capacity has not been planned early enough, meaning ‘unlikely to be able to find appropriate care for all those with eligible needs in the future.’ (16)
- And even if they had, they can’t get the workforce. The National Audit Office has recently found staff turnover in the sector of 28% annually, with a vacancy rate up to three times other sectors. (17)
Care in the home – may result in better health outcomes.
- Research indicates live-in care reduces the risk of a fall by 33% and the risk of a hip fracture is reduced by 46%, both of which are heavily linked to mortality. (18)
- Those receiving care at home are able to keep their GP. The close relationship between a GP and their patient can help reduce hospital admissions and ultimate risk mortality. (19)
- Live-in care carries a 64% reduction in the likelihood of being housebound. This is linked to reduced physical and mental health problems and mortality. (20)