Offering a pioneering comparison website for residential care and independent living, Lottie has just secured €2.98 million. Launched in 2021, the social impact startup is taking on the elderly care market crisis.
The fresh funding was led by Kindred, with investment from business angels including Zoopla executive, David Wascha as well as former Airbnb and Facebook director, Caroline Hudack. Tom Blomfield and Lendable co-founder Victoria van Lennep also reinvested.
The UK-based company was founded by entrepreneur Chris Donnelly and his healthcare expert brother Will Donnelly after they found themselves exasperated during their own experience of searching for a care home for their grandma. Lottie was created with the vision to provide a free digital healthcare marketplace, helping families minimize the time, stress and cost of finding quality compassionate care homes.
Founder Will Donnelly commented: “Finding a high-quality care home is complex, time-consuming and incredibly stressful, with nearly half of families regretting their decision. Chris and I believe there is a different way. We’ve flipped the industry dynamics to challenge the market’s long-standing status quo. Lottie was built first and foremost to champion and support care seekers, not other key sector stakeholders.”
“Most first-time care choices take place following a sudden illness, injury or loss of carer, meaning decisions are often made urgently and under distressing circumstances – an emotional process, which requires real human expertise and support.”
At the heart of Lottie is curation and tackling the paradox of choice. The care homes listed are handpicked and vetted by the company’s team of care experts based on their care quality, customer reviews, home culture and ethical practices.
Blending technology with human expertise, elderly people and their loved ones are given the freedom to design their ideal care package. Lottie then distils millions of data points on care homes to help people find the perfect home that meets their needs, wants and budget. Neatly straddling the on and offline world, Lottie has a team of friendly advisors who can handle the whole care home search process from researching facilities, discussing care requirements, negotiating residency fees as well as overseeing the legal process.
Chris Donnelly explained: “Lottie is a unique hybrid of matchmaker, comparison website and care property specialist. Blending smart technology with human expertise, we hope the platform will become an indispensable ally in helping people make easy informed choices about elderly care.”
The UK elderly care sector comprises 12,500 care homes with a combined total of 480,000 registered beds. A rapidly ageing population means the category is currently forecast to be unsustainable beyond 2028 without increased investment and new technology innovation.
Further, care homes across the UK can be seen as somewhat of a postcode lottery. According to the consumer website Which? the average cost of a residential care home in 2019-20 ranged from £551 a week in Northern Ireland to £858 in Scotland. That’s a difference of £307 a week, or almost £16,000 a year. It makes for an unjust care system, and too often elderly people are left disadvantaged.
Chris Donnelly commented: “Social care is at a crisis point, and this has only been exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19 on the sector. There has never been a more important time to breathe some new life into the sector and help improve the quality of life for families and their elderly loved ones.”
Detangling the complicated and confusing landscape of social care, the company has helped 1,000s of families so far, while their concierge service has assisted over 200 people in later life start a positive new chapter.
Lottie’s co-founders also have their eyes set on enhancing the intuitiveness of the platform through the incorporation of artificial intelligence in the future.
The new funding will be used to supercharge Lottie’s marketplace expansion and care concierge services across the UK, as well as extending the company’s offering to the independent living sector – a market forecast to grow due to the rising demand for age-fit accommodation from the 55+ population.
The investment will also go towards building the business’ expert team of local care and technology professionals in addition to developing the technology to make it even simpler for new care seekers to navigate the website.
Maria Palma, General Partner at Kindred comments, “Sorting care for aging family members is one of the most crucial decisions you make, and yet the current process of finding a home or knowing your options is broken, fragmented, and leaves little peace of mind about the quality of care your loved one will actually receive. I’m incredibly excited to be backing the Lottie team, who have a killer combination of relevant experience in the sector and deep passion for improving the standard of care.”