Sir NickClegg and Ben Maruthappu
The technology-enabled homecare start-up, chaired by former Lib Dems leader Sir Nick Clegg, will use the funding to expand across the UK and into Europe.
Technology-enabled homecare start-up Cera has raised an unprecedented £12.4m in Series A funding, just a year and half after launching.
The funding round – which was significantly oversubscribed – represents the largest investment round of any European start-up in the social care sector.
Key investors include Guinness Asset Management, which oversees £1.2bn through its EIS fund; Yabeo, which is the lead investor in Germany’s biggest care supply company Pflegebox; and Kairos, which aims to transform broken industries, such as elderly care, using technology.
Several investors from Cera’s seed round, including Peter Sands, formerly CEO of Standard Chartered and chairman of Davos, have also followed-on with further investment.
Cera will use the funding to expand its services further across the UK, launching in an additional three cities including Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham via an innovative ‘buy and build’ strategy.
As part of the initiative, Cera will buy struggling homecare agencies across the UK – many of which lack the technology to scale and grow by themselves – 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 UK homecare businesses in a scalable manner, in what will be a UK-first from a start-up in this space. This model will also be used to drive Cera’s expansion to Germany.
Dr Ben Maruthappu, co-founder and CEO of Cera, said: “Our funding will allow us to transform the accessibility and affordability of homecare for thousands of vulnerable people like never before, all at the touch of a smartphone.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for the business as we grow our team, expand internationally and, with CeraFlex, embark on arguably the biggest change to elderly care provision in a century – offering care that’s always there, at a fraction of the cost.”
The funding announcement comes shortly after Cera revealed that former Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Nick Clegg, has joined as chairman of the advisory board.
Sir Nick said: "The confidence shown by Cera’s investors, and the launch of a ground breaking new social care package shaped flexibly around people's daily needs, shows how Cera is emerging as one of the most innovative social care providers in the country.
“I am confident that as we continue to strike the right balance between technology-enabled innovation and affordable, high quality care, the company will go from strength to strength."
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