Cera*, the health technology startup which has set out to revolutionise pensioner care, has just received a sizeable equity injection of around $17m. When we wrote about the UK’s healthtech sector last November, we singled out Cera as a healthtech company to keep an eye on. At the time, however, they were still early on in the startup cycle, having raised around £4m over 4 investment rounds. With their latest round, they have quickly moved onto the next stage of development, and will now be targeting regional expansion.
Following the publication of our healthtech piece, our data powered a report in The Times on the state of British healthtech. They too focussed on Cera and its promising start in the social care sector.
This recent fundraising coincides with the launch of their new service CeraFlex. This has been tipped as a “Deliveroo-style-service”, whereby social care patients can request home visits by one of Cera’s carers via mobile app. On their website, they claim their carers will arrive in 30 minutes – similar to the average delivery time of a Deliveroo supper. If this pans out, it could illustrate the transformative effects of a digitised healthcare service.
Meanwhile, this recent investment round has taken Cera into the upper end of Britain’s healthtech cohort, in terms of cash raised:
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The new funding will be used to launch in Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham, where the company is already in late stage acquisition talks with several other home care providers.
Some of this investment came from the German VC firm Yabeo. We spoke to Cera’s CEO Ben Maruthappu, and asked why they sought a German investor in this investment round. His reply was a great insight into inward investment: “We have been looking to expand in Germany, so it was an important step for us to work with an investor who could provide us with strategic advice. They are also the lead investor in Germany’s largest care supply company, which will provide us with unique opportunities for commercial partnerships.”
Indeed, Maruthappu seems well positioned to drive innovation in Britain’s healthcare sector. In 2014 he spent 2 years working as the Senior Fellow to the NHS England’s CEO, before becoming the organisation’s Innovation Advisor, whilst holding down a Specialist Registrar training position at UCL. Around the same time, he co-founded the NHS Innovation Accelerator.
In March, the company hired ex Deputy PM Nick Clegg as an advisor. With his experience, this role will presumably entail public affairs work, and could provide important support in easing the regulations relating to Cera’s entrance into the UK’s broader social care landscape.
This investment is a drop in the ocean for the British social care sector, which is undergoing increasing levels of strain as the population ages. (Allied Healthcare, one of Britain’s largest home care providers, recently had to line up a rescue plan). We look forward to seeing whether Cera’s technology can drive the sort of innovation the sector needs.
*Disclaimer: Cera shares significant shareholders with Beauhurst.