SaaS-maker Birdie has closed an $11.5 million Series A round of financing led by Index Ventures. Existing investor Kamet Ventures also participated.
The UK-based caretech start-up has raised a total of $22.9 M considering that being established back in 2017 (a 2018 raise that was called a Series A at the time is now being classified as a seed growth). It’s focused on building tools for social care providers to drive efficiencies in a chronically under resourced sector.
Birdie isn’t a care service provider itself (so it’s not a direct rival to a startup like Lifted); rather it aims to support care companies with a suite of digital tools intended to minimize admin costs and makes it much easier to manage the care being supplied to individuals — — doing away with the need for paper-based records, and making it possible for real-time exposure such as by means of carer check-ins and medication-related notices.
The larger objective is for the platform to support care companies to provide more co-ordinated, customized and — — the hope is — preventative care so that older adults can be supported to live for longer in their own houses.
“Technology can totally change the method we care for the elderly and assist them to age in your home a lot longer, much healthier and better,” states CEO and co-founder Max Parmentier, discussing the founding premise. “We position ourselves as an option to distinctively use a complete support for the senior to age at home… … So we began with individuals closest to the senior and caring for the elderly which are the care companies. And when we look at how these suppliers are operating they are extraordinary dedicated, and quite involved in their work, however the care delivered is extremely uncoordinated, reactive and often very generic.
“We felt that we might go way beyond — — in regards to innovation — becoming the os to be much more efficient in the method they provide care but likewise to significantly increase the quality of the care provided.”
What’s the draw for VCs to buy such an under-resourced market? “There’s macro trends which are unavoidable. I concur with you that it’s significantly underfunded but it’s simply unsustainable,” he argues. “There is plainly an argument to state that whether Investors or vcs are interested in this market or not it’s going to get bigger. And one method or another we’ll have to discover some funding system to pay for it.”
“Today already we hear terrible stories about older people not being looked after appropriately. I think what got particular Index delighted is really the chance to [inform a positive story],” he goes on. “I’m rather an optimistic individual. I do think that really you might quite craft a much happier path in terms of aging which is actually more budget-friendly — — because it doesn’t cost as much because you truly lower the health care expenses if you actually tailor these plans much better and tailor the care better. And you can also utilize technology to make it more tailored, more preventative.”
By simplifying and streamlining information record around elderly care through a digital platform, information about the care being delivered can be structured in such a way that helps reduce errors (such as from handwritten notes leading to administering the wrong medication) and permits problems to be spotted early when an intervention might be highly useful, is the contention.
Parmentier offers the example of early indications of a urinary system infection which, if picked up on — — by spotting indicators in the information — — can be dealt with simply at house with prescription antibiotics. But if not an elderly person may end up in health center, with all the involved risks of a far worse outcome.
Birdie can likewise supply connected hardware like motion sensors to its care service provider consumers so that its platform can monitor frail elderly grownups who may be at risk of falling. Although Parmentier stresses that such hardware is an optional component of the platform — — and is just set up with the complete knowledge and authorization of the care recipient.
Business is focused on “serving the interests and the rights of these older adults and no one else”, he says, verifying that care recipients’ information is not shown any third parties unless it’s straight related to the shipment of their care.
Birdie’s group( Image credits: Birdie)Having a digital platform-level view into a person’s care undoubtedly uses increased visibility vs paper-based records. It also indicates real-time information can be shared — such as with close member of the family who may want the peace of mind of understanding when their liked one has gotten a see or taken their medication, and so on. (Again, however, just with the correct consents.)
“There is a positive narrative which is that ageing is really fantastic,” Parmentier suggests. “If you remain in health this part of your life is most likely among the most exciting. And this is really the spin we ought to give up terms of story but also we should empower these older grownups with the ideal support to take that pleased course.”
To date, Birdie has partnered with practically 500 providers throughout the U.K. — — and currently its platform is being utilized to support the care of more than 20,000 older individuals each week.
Development has been 8x over the previous 12 months, per Parmentier, as the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated need for in-home elderly care. The new financing will go on accelerating growth in the U.K., though he likewise says it has its eye on other locations and sees potential to broaden internationally.
“Phase one [of the business] is how can we empower these care suppliers to be better at what they do?” he states. “Because I really believe that there’s am army of care providers who are so committed and if we can help them be much better at what they do that’s lovely.”
Having structured information on senior care offers a foundation for carrying out research study that might even more the ‘‘ preventative’ care element of the mission — — and Birdie is taking some tentative steps in that direction by means of some job partnerships.
Such as one into polypharmacy (i.e. concurrent use of medications which can have negative scientific effects) with U.K.-based AI company Faculty.
“There’s extremely unknown as to what effect medication has on older adults health. If you think about it we simply have pharma business doing trials and then flagging secondary symptoms up when they emerge and after that medical professionals prescribe that. The truth is for senior individuals — — due to the fact that normally they combine various medications — — the symptoms and the damage to health can be higher,” he describes.
“What we’ve done with Professors is to look at what is the medication treatment of an older grownup and what is the clinical observations from carers following these medication treatments. So do we see that usually there’s less appetite to consume or consume, or problems about pains and so on. And do we see connections with the real medication treatment prescribed?”
The polypharmacy research study is at an early stage however he states the hope is they will have the ability to construct an AI design that can produce cautions for a prescribing clinician if a particular medication routine has actually been linked to outcomes that may harm health or otherwise hinder healthy taking care of an individual.
On the research study side, Birdie’s website notes that it’s using “anonymized” information in these exploratory efforts — — which is a claim that merits examination considered that medical data is both notoriously difficult and extremely sensitive to robustly (irreversibly) anonymize.
Asked about this, Parmentier states that for the minute its research study efforts involve associating data on different older grownups from different care suppliers, which the information being pooled is restricted to particularly pertinent information (i.e. depending on the research study task) — — eliminating “all the un-needed data”, as he puts it.
He states it is not, for example, currently combining any of the information it holds with National Health Service (NHS) client information — — which he acknowledges could position a significant risk of re-identification. However he also states Birdie does want to go there because it thinks that integrating more data-sets might assist it even more preventative care research.
“The threat is when you pool your information with any third party data-set such as the NHS for example. That is actually dangerous… … because there’s constantly a method to tie it back. We’ve been keeping away from that for the moment,” he informs TechCrunch.
“I think it can actually enhance our preventative models however we need to do that only under very stringent conditions that the anonymization is bullet-proof,” he includes. “We haven’t done that yet and we’re checking out methods to do it. However we’re going to very cautious about it. For the moment there’s no threat really due to the fact that we’re not blending data-sets of the very same patient. However if we were to incorporate with third parties’ systems the danger will increase — — and we’ll require to address it really plainly.”
Parmentier likewise offers a look of an enthusiastic prospective second phase of the business — — where Birdie thinks it will be able to coach older adults themselves (and/or their family members who are acting as care givers), i.e. enabled by its platform-level view of finest practice (and by having the ability to fold in data-fuelled research study into preventative care AI models).
To get there will need not, just a lot of information, however a sectoral shift towards a design of care shipment focused on “value-based healthcare”; where the company is billed not for hours of care given however on health/quality of life results. The transformative vision of highly scalable, data-enabled senior house care is certainly not going to arrive overnight.
In the on the other hand Birdie’s service stays firmly in phase one: Building assistance tools to drive efficiency and quality for an under-resourced sector.
“We see the exact same problem everywhere,” includes Parmentier. “Today currently we don’t look after our senior properly… … Today they cost us about 60% of our health care expenses. Tomorrow is going to be much even worse. We need to transport more financial investment into this industry — — in regards to new ways of operating, technology, and truly development is key to move towards better models where it’s more preventative, more customized, more result based — — since that’s the service. It’s going to lower the cost base, it’s going to enhance the health results.”
Commenting in a declaration, Stephane Kurgan, venture partner at Index Ventures, included: “Our ageing society and increasing health care expenses need us to reassess the method we take care of frailer populations like the senior. Technology offers us the tools, as the care sector has actually remained extensively paper-based and is ripe for disturbance.
“By buying caretech with Birdie, we are purchasing solving the day-to-day difficulties of the care neighborhood. We firmly think in Birdie’s vision to make care more customised and more preventative so that older individuals can age at home longer, much healthier and better. We have actually been impressed by Birdie’s traction and the calibre of its group, and are very thrilled to embark on this journey with them.”