High-growth startup Elder has this week announced successfully raising a further £8.2m in bid to displace the care home. 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.’