It’s probably not the first sector that springs to mind when you think about disruptive start-ups but as the population gets older there’s plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs in social care. One such entrepreneur is Dr Jamie Wilson, a former NHS doctor who founded HomeTouch to make it easier for those in need to find a carer.
Today Wilson’s company announced it has just bagged an investment from Passion Capital, the London venture capital firm whose partners include Tech City chair Eileen Burbidge. The terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but it takes the total funding raised by HomeTouch to £500,000. That might not be a lot compared to Uber’s multi-billion dollar war chest, but it’s a welcome injection of cash for a care sector start-up founded less than a year ago.
HomeTouch vets carers with a face-to-face interview and criminal record check before listing them on its website. Those in need of a carer can search for one based on their needs – including languages, skills (from cleaning to using a ventilator) and experience with particular medical conditions.
HomeTouch founder Dr Jamie Wilson
There are 162 carers listed on the site at the moment, mostly based in London. Each charges anywhere between £10-£20 per hour and HomeTouch takes a 20% cut. It refrains from explicitly describing itself as an ‘Uber for carers’, but the parallels are there.
‘HomeTouch has been growing incredibly fast across the capital, and as we have grown the quality and size of our network, we are now seeing the clear benefits of being the UK market leader with increased choice, reliability and transparency to UK families,’ Wilson said. ‘With funding from Passion, we will help even more people find the quality care they need and hope to become the UK’s unrivalled online home care destination.’
Some might lament that a VC firm wants to make money out of somebody’s need for a carer. But if it brings much-needed innovation to the sector and makes it easier for those in need to find home help then this looks like a win-win.