British eHealth companies looking to relieve pressure on the NHS
There is a great demand for technology that helps support the elderly, vulnerable and sick whilst we’ve all been asked to stay at home and minimise the need for contact between patients and their carers and doctors.
Beauhurst profiles two eHealth businesses they expect to do very well over the coming months.
Funds raised: £518m
Founded: September 2014
One of the household names in the eHealth space is Babylon, which has developed an app to enable patients to book and conduct remote video consultations with a GP and send prescriptions to a specified location. Using the power of artificial intelligence, patients can use the app’s chatbot to discuss their symptoms and consult with a doctor or ‘virtual nurse’, with many services available 24-hours a day.
In late 2016, Babylon started working with Dr Jefferies and Partners practice to launch a GP clinic in Fulham. Since then, more than 40,000 people across London have joined the Babylon-owned NHS practice, creating one of the largest and fastest-growing surgeries in the UK. By the end of 2019, the company had nearly 1 million new registrations, bringing their total users to almost 4 million. The company has operations in the UK and Rwanda, launched in the US in January 2020, and is now planning to expand to the Middle East and China.
To date, Babylon has received an astonishing £518m in fundraisings and is one of the UK’s 22 visible unicorn companies. Notable investors include Hoxton Ventures, JamJar Investments, Investment AB Kinnevik, NNS Holdings, and Vostok New Ventures. In 2019 they received a whopping £454m in equity fundraising, with a large portion of this coming from Saudi Arabia’s state-owned investment fund. Other notable competitors in this field include Push Doctor, which provides a similar online demand GP surgery and is backed by investments totalling £41.6m.
Babylon has now launched a COVID-19 Care Assistant, for those who are self-isolating or finding it hard to access information about coronavirus. The service offers free information from NHS doctors and clinicians and can be accessed through the Babylon app and website.
Funds raised: £72m
Founded: September 2015
Cera provides pensioners with at-home carers who can offer support with medical issues and personal services such as shopping. Care can easily be scheduled via phone or the company’s centralised technology platform, which can automatically match patients to carers with the skills necessary to manage their conditions. In 2018, Cera partnered with IBM to pilot the use of autonomous vehicle technology in home care. By scanning the home environment, “lidar” sensors could learn a particular person’s daily routine, and alert carers when there’s a disruption (a similar product to that offered by Care Canary).
By acquiring suitable traditional care providers, Cera hopes to introduce efficiencies across the sector. In 2018 the company acquired Nottingham-based Radcliffe Home Help Services and Yorkshire’s Advanced Community Healthcare and in 2020 it acquired Mears Care. These acquisitions were fuelled by a total of £72m of investment, including a £53m equity and loan fundraising last month led by Guinness Asset Management, Kairos Ventures, Yabeo, and other undisclosed investors.
To help beat coronavirus, Cera will launch a large-scale effort to train and certify workers as qualified carers and put them to work in as little as 10 days. They also guarantee these jobs to be long-term, even when the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak lessen.