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‘Uber for carers’ startup raises £13m to buy struggling home care firms

This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/05/01/uber-carers-startup-raises-13m-buy-struggling-home-care-firms/

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startup dubbed the “Uber for carers” has raised $17m (£12.5m) to help fund its plan to transform the struggling home care industry by buying up failing providers and moving their patients and carers onto its digital platform.

Cera, which is backed by Standard Chartered’s ex-chief executive Peter Sands and counts former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg among its advisers, will use the cash to expand beyond its current focus on London and the south-east by taking over companies in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

The industry is in crisis, with councils struggling on thin budgets and more than 1.2m elderly people missing out on the care they need, according to Age UK.

But Cera’s founder, Ben Maruthappu, said the company can cut costs and improve standards by digitising rotas and logistics and operating at a larger scale than existing providers, many of which have just a handful of carers on their books.

Mr Maruthappu told The Daily Telegraph Cera is “already in deep discussions” about taking over “several” home care companies and expects to make its first acquisition “imminently”.

Mr Maruthappu said: “The German market is interesting because the population compared to the UK is actually older and the care market is even more fragmented.”

Last week a report by Bloomberg claimed people close to Cera had posted fake reviews on the website Trustpilot, which said it had deleted some of the posts.

Cera said: “We have looked into this, and TrustPilot have removed unverified reviews.”

Cera also plans to launch a new service “CeraFlex”, which will allow those who currently use live-in and full-day carers to save money by allowing them to visit other patients when they are not required.

Other members of the startup’s star-studded top team include Ankur Jain, formerly a senior executive at Tinder, and Philip Young, previously senior counsel at US telecoms giant Liberty Global.