At a time when NHS hospital waiting lists reach record highs of 6.6 million and the world continues to adapt to living with COVID-19, aggravating the need for tech-powered care at home, UK-based digital-first home healthcare platform Cera has raised $320 million in funding. The new investment will allow the startup to expand from servicing 15,000 to 100,000 at-home patients each day.
The equity and debt round will help in freeing up NHS beds and boosting the U.K.’s care capacity by the equivalent of over 50 hospitals.
Founded in 2016 by Dr Ben Maruthappu, the platform offers care, nursing, telehealth and prescription delivery services in the home supported by technology in the U.K. and Germany. The company claims it is around 10-fold more affordable than a patient receiving care in hospital, due to its technology-powered model.
Cera’s carers and nurses collect patient symptoms and health data during at-home appointments, which its AI algorithms use to predict deterioration in conditions before they occur, triggering earlier health interventions to prevent people from becoming unwell. According to Cera, this technology has reduced hospitalisation rates by an unprecedented 52%, predicted up to 80% of hospitalisations seven days in advance, reduced patient falls by 17%, urinary problems by 47%, infections by 15% and also helped to improve medication and prescription compliance in older patients by 35%.
So, what’s on the horizon for Cera in the post-pandemic world? The new capital will be used to increase the number of patients in Cera’s care by over 5-fold by 2025. It will also be used to expand the company’s investment in nursing, telehealth and prescription delivery services, both in the UK and internationally, to provide multiple healthcare services per household.
The round was led by Cera’s existing investor Kairos HQ, alongside the Vanderbilt University Endowment, Evolve Healthcare Partners and Schroders Capital, Jane Street Capital, Yabeo Capital, Squarepoint Capital, Guinness Asset Management, Oltre Impact, 8090 Partners, technology investor Robin Klein and several other international institutional investors.
Dr Ben Maruthappu MBE, CEO and co-founder of Cera, said: “Since Cera’s launch in November 2016 the company has scaled at an unprecedented rate for the sector, benefiting countless lives, and proving the need for technology-powered improvement in healthcare. Receiving such significant financial backing during this period of global economic volatility, is testament to the strength of Cera’s business model, our innovation, and our commitment to revolutionising healthcare.”
Tim Creed, head of private equity investments of Schroders Capital, added: “Ageing populations, post-pandemic recovery and major staff shortages have created a series of issues facing healthcare providers and governments. Cera’s digital-first home healthcare is a unique offering that we believe must be rolled out far and wide to provide a tangible solution to hospital waiting times, building a bigger carer workforce and to help our elderly communities to receive quality, genuine care.”