Cera, a UK provider of healthcare in the home, complemented by a platform that allows caregivers to monitor a patient’s health and potentially identify problems, has raised $320 million (£260 million) in a funding round with equity and debt, roughly split 50/50.
The equity side of the funding round was led by Cera’s existing investor Kairos HQ, alongside the Vanderbilt University Endowment, Schroders Capital, Jane Street Capital, Yabeo Capital, Squarepoint Capital, Guinness Asset Management, Oltre Impact, 8090 Partners, technology investor Robin Klein (of LocalGlobe fame) and others. Cera refused to name his debt partner.
The company now plans to expand from 15,000 patients to 100,000 per day. Ironically, 15,000 patients is the bed capacity roughly equivalent to the 40 NHS hospitals promised more than two years ago by Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, which have yet to be delivered.
The statistic shows how patient care at home is being radicalized by tech startups that are either using remote monitoring or employing caregivers to manually enter patient data into apps. Ultimately, long-term care in hospitals is likely to become obsolete, as the home can be an equally efficient place to provide care.
It is estimated that more than 88% of hospitals and health organizations in the US are investing in remote patient monitoring technologies. US-based startups in the industry include GYANT, which has raised $23 million, Neteera ($8.5 million), and Binah.ai ($13.5 million).
Cera’s proprietary system is less tech-savvy, yet it’s clearly moving towards more automation, in the same way that Uber and Lyft drivers could one day be replaced by driverless taxis.
The company, which also operates in Germany, provides home care, nursing, telecare and prescription delivery, claiming it is ten times cheaper than serving a patient in hospital. Staff collect patient symptoms and health data at home, which are then used to predict worsening conditions before they occur, triggering medical interventions. The company claims it can reduce hospitalizations by more than 50% and has other benefits, such as reducing patient falls, infections and improving medication and prescription compliance.
With hospitals under pressure from the worst of the pandemic and premium staff, it’s likely that these technology-enhanced services will take off among healthcare providers.
dr. Ben Maruthappu MBE, who launched the startup in 2016, told me: “What we’re doing is just a mirror to what’s happened in other industries, like ride-hailing or other services that come right to your door. Most healthcare technology studies now We started with the elderly because they have a lot of care visits.”
He said Brexit had a negative impact on healthcare in the UK as a staggering 7% of NHS staff are from the EU, but claimed Cera is able to retrain people from other sectors into health positions quite quickly. . “More than 60% of the people we hire come from outside the healthcare sector. It’s like when ride-sharing had a breakthrough when it became more accessible to non-taxi drivers,” he said.
Maruthappu added that the company plans to eventually move to a SAAS model, where it would allow other technology and healthcare providers to use its services.