The CEO of one of the fastest growing companies in Europe says the care industry is in crisis, but tech could save it.
Pete Dowds created carer software firm Elder in 2016 and has seen the company grow more than 500 per cent in the last 12 months.
It provides tech includng Elder Match, which matches people in need with the right live-in carer; My Elder, for the person’s family to see their routines and feedback; and app Elder Hub, for the carers to track caring needs.
Dowds believes alternatives to care homes such as live-in carers could alleviate the pressure on the care industry.
“If you look at what’s happening in the UK at the moment, it’s an industry in crisis,” Dowds told BusinessCloud.
“There aren’t enough care homes, the amount of people that leave the care sector every year, about 40 per cent annual turnover because they’re paid minimum wage.
“You’ve also got customers whose quality of life expectations have gone up a massive amount but there’s no other solution.
“You see things in the press every day about care or about another operator shutting down or issues in the home, or you see Panorama coming.”
Dowds created the firm after a personal experience of his grandmother going into a home. Dowds said he was not aware of other options at the time.
He gained investment after leaving his first business Mopp, a home services booking site which he bootstrapped for three years. Elder has since raised £9 million investment to date.
“Elder is the alternative to the care home. The reason is, a fast majority of people don’t want to have to go into a care home but they’re not aware there’s an alternative.
“The care industry to date has always been a taxi rank system where it will distribute the next carer in line and give to a customer, whereas what we know is when it comes to full time carers and someone moving into your home, you need to have choice, it needs to be the right carer,” he said.
“Now they’ve got this app in their pocket which is their go to to understand who they’re going to be caring for, what needs to be done on a daily basis, provide feedback about how it’s going, taking the whole experience and removing all the administration.
“Allowing them to focus on what matters which is providing great care and companionship for loved ones.”
Headquartered in Monzo’s old office in London, the company now has a team of 70 staff and over 2,500 carers on their system.
The firm is now looking to create an app for the person receiving the care, for them to make their own decisions and leave feedback on the care provided.
“Often a lot of people being cared for will still have mental capacity so we’re thinking a lot around how we can help them in the home with making sure they’re getting the care and living the life they want,” he said.
“It’s not just their family, it’s ultimately what they want and so that’s a big area of how can we deliver.
“The carers will play a key role there but technology also provides it a critical role to give them the right voice.”