On Wednesday, Cera, the London-based homecare startup announced $17 million in Series A funding. Investing in the round is Guinness Asset Management (via its EIS fund), Yabeo (which is also the lead investor in Germany’s biggest care supply company Pflegebox), and Kairos. In addition, a number of Cera’s seed backers have participated.
Cera says it will use its Series A funding — which is made up of both equity and debt — to expand its services further across the U.K., launching in an additional three cities beyond London, namely Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, via what it is calling a “buy and build” strategy. This will see Cera buy struggling homecare agencies across the U.K. — many of which it says lack the technology to scale and grow independently — as a more rapid means of expanding.
“In a fragmented market of over 8,000 homecare providers, Cera has built the technology to quickly aggregate U.K. homecare businesses in a scalable manner, in what will be a U.K.-first from a startup in this space. This model will also be used to drive Cera’s expansion to Germany,” says the company.
The injection of capital will also support Cera’s continued investment in “AI”. It has been prototyping a chatbot-styled assistant it calls “Martha,” which it claims can successfully foresee deterioration in patient health, based on carer feedback, such as whether a patient hasn’t been eating, has a fever, or isn’t walking normally. The aim is to pre-empt more serious illnesses and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.