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, making 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, the CEO and the founder of Elder, to learn more about what they are doing to create value for society. Watch the documentary to hear their story and some valuable advice about entrepreneurship.
A 16 Minute Startup documentary: Elder
Growth of the business
The business was started in January 2016 by Pete and his partner Tom. It was just the two of them, a couple of laptops and the idea back in the days. Through the hard work they’ve done, now they are about 80 people in the team. So 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 those 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. But, then, they managed to become this successful business today with all the hard work and by asking the right questions at the core of the eldercare problem.
Elder wants to help you have your loved ones receive full-time care without the need to move into a care home. So what kind of solution does Elder bring to the table?
They are a technology-enabled service that brings together full-time carers and those 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 ensure that both parties are satisfied with the experience.
Their main goal is to improve the caring industry innovatively, 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 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 many 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, make them part of the team, and so on…
There are different kinds of jobs in the company. Some of them are working heavily to find the best carers around the UK to help them get 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 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 would take a lot of time to solve the key problem. So, instead, the capital would 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 players who want to be successful and challenge themselves. London would be an amazing talent pool to search from when you need different people with different skill sets. Pete thinks that they’ve 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 makes building relationships with them easier.
Dealing with challenges
Pete thinks one of the core things for any business is communication. So how do you make sure that the right people understand the right thing at the right time? For example, 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 discusses 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 interrupt a market with innovation, it will take some time for society to understand the value your business creates for them. Therefore, you need to demonstrate your product precisely while working on improving 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 and seeing 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. As a result, 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 to create 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 period, there is much more to go. The market is growing 7% each year. 500.000 people in the UK 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 society. Wish them the best of luck!
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