Yurtle, a London-based InsurTech helping workplaces combat caregiver burnout, has closed a seed funding round of £1.4 million.

The round was co-led by Insurtech Gateway and Mustard Seed Maze and will allow Yurtle to grow its team and roll out its ‘digital care ally’ Yurty.

Yurtle aims to help people to live independently as they age by empowering informal social care networks to deliver care support in a sustainable and effective manner.

The number of people aged 65+ is growing at twice the rate of younger age groups. And despite living longer, many elderly people are in poor health. 

Yurtle says 12,000 people each day in the UK are being thrust into a caregiving role for an elderly, frail, sick or disabled loved one. When caregivers are unsupported in UK workplaces, they put their holistic health at risk, as well as costing their employers an estimated £4.8 billion each year through productivity losses, absence and turnover.

Paid for by employers, Yurtle’s insurance product and app aims to prevent caregiver burnout by helping them build a resilient care team around them, as well as a financial safety net when their health breaks down.

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The app helps employees reflect on the care load they carry – often overlooked by caregivers eager to prioritise the needs of a child, parent, grandparent or spouse – receive personalised advice on becoming more effective caregivers, and shows them how to mobilise their existing network to share caring responsibilities.

Yurtle says it has already secured distribution access to over 60% of the UK corporate market.

Founder Antonio Ribeiro has seen first-hand the strain caregiving can impose on families. His grandfather received family and professional support in his battle with ALS – a fatal type of motor neuron disease – and his grandmother today leans heavily on family in her battle with age-related frailty and vascular dementia.

“We believe there is no single systemic challenge more pressing or fascinating to solve than our ageing population,” said Ribeiro. “We are thrilled to have secured funding that allows us to continue building the tools families need to meet their obligations of care for loved ones without sacrificing their health.”

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The company has appointed Jose Ribeiro as chairman.

“Caregiving is the single largest driver of underrepresentation of women in the senior leadership: it is behind the gender pension and pay gaps, and the lower participation of women in paid work,” said Richard Chattock, CEO at Insurtech Gateway.

“Yurtle’s product takes a direct approach to tackle this inequality, offering caregivers the community support and financial security necessary to look after their own health and career, while providing high-quality care to loved ones. 

“We are proud to support Yurtle as they expand their product across the UK and beyond.”

Sofia Queiroz, investment principal at MSM, added: “Tackling the challenge of a growing elderly population has always been an area of interest for us, considering the size of the problem and the impact potential. 

“However, it was only clear to us after meeting Yurtle that a scalable business model could be found in the space. The combo of a solution that solves the financial (insurance) and non-financial (platform) issues linked to caregiving, together with a business model that splits the responsibility between employees and employers, makes this possible. 

“António and the team he built around Yurtle couldn’t be a better fit to tackle this problem, with a combination of business, insurance, behavioural science and on-the ground experience working with caregivers.”

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