There are currently around 500.000 people in the UK who are in a care home, receiving full-time care. Those people are spending 22 billion pounds a year which makes this one of the biggest markets in the UK. What if this homecare industry combines with technology? This is exactly why Elder is here for.
Today, we are with Pete Dowds who is the CEO and the founder of Elder to learn more about what they are doing to create value for the society. Watch the documentary to hear their story and some valuable advices about entrepreneurship.
A 16 Minute Startup documentary: Elder
Growth of the business
The business started in January 2016 by Pete and his partner Tom. Back in the days, it was just the two of them, a couple of laptops and the idea. Through the time with the hard work they’ve done, now they are about 80 people in the team. While the business grows, the size of the customer and the carer number grows as well.
Now they have 3.000 carers across the UK helping the ones who need full-time care, in their own houses.
For the first 12 months, they didn’t have anything but the idea: no customers, no service and no carers. With all the hard work and by asking the right questions at the core of elder care problem, they managed to become this successful business today.
Elder wants to help you to have your loved ones receive full-time care without the need of moving into a care home. What kind of solution does Elder bring to the table?
They are a technology-enabled service that brings together full-time carers and the ones who are looking for a carer around the UK. They are doing this by providing a full time live-in carer moving in a spare bedroom in their houses and looks after them.
Today, Elder has two specific strategic planning pillars to focus on for the year: Carer Loyalty and Customer Satisfaction. Since they have a business that combines two different sides of the service, they always want to make sure that both parties are satisfied with the experience.
Their main goal is to improve the caring industry in an innovative way but how do they do this from the technological aspect? Listen to the podcast to find out more:
Startup interview podcats: Elder
People side of growth
They have reached a size of 80 people today from just the two of them (founders) and they have an increasing number of customers every day. As Pete mentions in the interview, the business has changed a lot on the way. Without question, you have a lot of daily tasks as an entrepreneur if you want your business to be successful. You need to keep track of your business, switch the way you do things that are not working for the company, build and moderate your business strategy frequently, get the best talent and make them be part of the team and so on…
There are different kinds of jobs in the company. Some of them are heavily working on finding the best carers around the UK to help them getting replacements. Also, they have great software engineers who are building customer care facing products, marketing responsible roles and many more working on overlapping problems. They want to make sure they the people at Elder is empowered and accountable.
As Pete says in the interview, they realised that if they only rely on their own revenue it was going to take a lot of time to solve the key problem. The capital was going to be used to solve the problem they are going after which is how to build an experience that delivers bespoke care to someone anywhere in the UK 365 days a year, 24/7. So, they started seeking funding and raised about £9M of venture capital so far.
If you need capital, London is one of the best places in Europe to do that.
Being a London based startup
London is rich with opportunities for startups and larger companies. If you can identify a big and wide enough problem and execute well, you can grow fast . As almost all the tech companies mention, one of the greatest perks of having your business in London is the “talent”. People who come to the city are interesting, Type A player who wants to be successful and challenges themselves. When you need different people with a different skill set, London would be an amazing talent pool to search from. Pete thinks that they’re really been able to build a world-class team!
Limitless networking opportunity of London is also fulfilling for most of the tech companies. Compared to other places, having access to investors and other business owners, building relationships with them is easier.
Dealing with challenges
Pete things one of the core things for any business is communication. How do you make sure that the right people understand the right thing at the right time? When you have an increase in the number of your team, you want to make sure they’re pointing to the right things.
For this purpose, they have some rituals to make sure everyone is engaged and aware of the issues while building the team culture. Every Tuesday at 9:30 and Fridays at 5:45 they arrange team meetings where the whole company comes together to discuss key highlights, focus areas and some metrics.
There is also another challenge as Pete mentions is educating the people and creating awareness while running a profitable business. When you are interrupting a market with innovation it will take some time for the society to understand the value your business is creating for them. You need to demonstrate your product precisely while keep working on to better your business to improve the quality of your service/product .
Tech tools to depend on
Elder is a huge believer in using existing tools in the growth stage but also see the strategic value of having their own software. This belief led them to build and implement their own SAAS tool for the caring industry from scratch. They are mostly relying on their own development team to run their business. But at the same time, Pete says there is no point building something that is already out there and where they don’t have a competitive advantage.
They are using Salesforce creates a lot of value when it comes to CRM; Fountain for the carer onboarding side; Tableau for data visualisation and many others where they clearly see that those are the right answers.
Future goals & milestones
“Relative to the problem we’re trying to solve, we are still small,” Pete says
Even though Elder made huge progress in a short time of period, there is a lot more to go. The market is growing 7% each year. There are 500.000 people in the UK who are currently in care homes and paying a lot of money. Elder’s main goal in the upcoming years.is to reach all these people and build awareness in the United Kingdom.
We are really impressed with the work they are doing and the value they are creating for the society. Wish them best luck!
One thing that is great about Startups of London is that you get to discover new businesses and meet people. To stay in the loop and understand the London Tech scene better, consider subscribing to our social media channels linked below.
Each week, we will be visiting a new startup office to meet with their team & founders. In the meantime, don’t forget to watch our previous episodes. Stay tuned!