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HomeTouch uses tech to put caring back in care work – Startup of the Week

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Welcome to the first episode of the Elevator Pitch series 5!

Every week we publish a 30-second pitch from our Elevator Pitch winners.

These startups, chosen by a panel of expert judges for their potential to change the world, join an alumni group that includes the likes of YPlan, Hassle, import.io and Glow, and have to-date raised more than $86m.

EXCLUSIVE: Edinburgh-based Care Sourcer raises £500,000 Seed

In this series we took the founders on a ride unlike any other for the most exciting pitch of their lives.

Bringing the elderly and tech together

Given the elderly’s uneasy relationship with technology, it’s understandable that much of our social care infrastructure has as yet remained untouched by the great tech revolution. But former dementia doctor Jamie Wilson is hoping to make an impact here with the roll-out of HomeTouch.

HomeTouch launched in London in January 2015 and will start rolling out across other areas of the UK next year. The platform connects vetted carers with families who need care for an elderly relative, creating a personal relationship with the person looking after their loved one, while enabling them to monitor the service being given.

The company raised a seed round earlier this month from Wild Blue Cohort, the new business angel syndicate, and has welcomed onto its board: a board member of healthcare giant Virgin Care, former Googler Amanda Jones and Dr Thom Van Every.

With a ticking time bomb in our social care services, particularly as more people reach older age, and with private providers exposed in poor care scandals, never has an industry so sorely needed a dose of disruption.

Bringing a living wage to care work

Many carers are paid the minimum wage, or less, by big care agencies, of which there are 7,000 in the UK. But because HomeTouch cuts out the fees taken by big care agencies, the startup believes its carers earn 75% more than they would elsewhere.

The costs saved on agency contracts could also save local government procurers money and the rapid pace at which HomeTouch can set up contracts prevents older people from blocking NHS beds, saving central government some cash too.

Putting caring back into caring

HomeTouch carers can choose when they work and set their own rates, encouraging signups from everyone from out-of-work actors to medical students and people already caring for elderly relatives.

Demonstrating the interest in solving this huge problem, in the US, home care marketplace HomeHero closed a $23m round back in June, while Andreessen Horowitz led a $20m round for Honor in April.

Wilson says his company is using the on-demand model pioneered by the likes of Uber and Airbnb, but in a socially-impactful and yet economically-viable way.

The Elevator Pitch is gratefully sponsored by KPMG, Knight Frank, Natwest, Taylor Wessing, Propel London and Lendinvest

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