Two brothers intent on improving the quality of life for families and their loved ones by setting up the first comparison website for residential care and independent living just one year ago have grown the company’s valuation to £45m, after raising more than £6m in its latest funding round.
After experiencing first-hand the stress of finding the right elderly care for their grandmother, entrepreneur Chris Donnelly (31) and social care expert Will Donnelly (27) launched Lottie in July 2021 – a free to use digital healthcare marketplace and concierge service that allows care and retirement seekers to locate and compare the UK’s best later life living options at a fair price.
Led by one of the largest US venture capital firms and former Airbnb backer, General Catalyst, Lottie has raised £6.125m to power national expansion of the platform, invest in new digital tools for care providers, make further inroads into the thriving retirement living sector and supercharge the growth of Seniorcare, the company’s eldercare employee benefit portal.
This newest capital injection is an extension of a £2.5M seed round which initially closed in January 2022, led by early stage venture capital firm Kindred.
Having raised £9.025m to date (pre-seed and seed), the company is transforming the confusing and complicated landscape of social care in an effort to help families minimise the time, stress and cost of finding quality compassionate residential care, is now worth £45m, and employs ten times as many staff as it did in November 2021, with 40 team members on the books.
The news comes as demand for elderly care services continues to boom. As people live longer, families increasingly need to find quality solutions for taking care of elderly relatives, while juggling other commitments such childcare and work. The value of the global elderly care market is expected to reach $2.4 trillion (£2 trillion) by 2029, according to market research from Data Bridge.
Elderly people and their loved ones are given the freedom to design their ideal care package. Lottie then distills millions of data points on the 2000 high-quality care facilities and 300 independent retirement properties in England on the site to help people find the perfect home that meets their needs, wants and budget.
Customers and enquiry numbers were up 115% in the three months to the end of June, compared with the previous three-month period between December 2021 and March 2022.
Lottie’s growth has reflected this growing need. Alongside care homes, the company has recently expanded into Retirement Living, giving retirees specialist support and expertise in finding alternative housing options to those who want to maintain their independence in later life.
With the UK’s elderly population growing fast and the care home industry’s bed capacity expected to be at maximum capacity by 2028, the alternative of retirement living is set to become a crucial part of the elderly care puzzle. The market was valued at £3.2bn in 2021, up from £2.1bn in 2017, [according to LaingBuisson].
Establishing himself as one of the UK’s leading social care advisers, Lottie’s co-founder Will Donnelly spent 5 years at CBRE, where he advised on £2.5bn of healthcare transactions, while supporting the NHS during COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has supercharged the move of the later living industry from offline to online, from the initial search process and how care seekers engage with later living communities, through to the adoption of digital care plans and new operational technologies,” explains Donnelly.
“As well as assisting families and retirees in making important life decisions, Lottie is now helping our partner communities, both care and retirement, transition to the post COVID-19 digital world.
“Lottie’s operational technology is already being used by hundreds of the UK’s most forward thinking later living providers, which has been fundamental in allowing an improved customer experience, but also delivering better health outcomes for residents, and, in the long-term, will help deliver a sustainable industry which can meet the care needs of our rapidly ageing population.”
Fellow co-founder and Forbes Europe’s 30 under 30 alumni, Chris Donnelly says: “After closing with Kindred in January, we experienced unprecedented demand from funds. The first few months of 2022 have been hugely successful for us, so we decided to bring General Catalyst on by extending the seed round to further support our growth in the industry.”
General Catalyst, a US-based firm, is known for its ability to nurture companies with fast-paced growth to reach their full potential. Its other investments include Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Bloom & Wild.
Lottie has also previously received backing from the likes of Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and Lendable co-founder Victoria van Lennep.
Chris Bischoff, leader of healthcare investment for General Catalyst, will join Lottie’s board as part of the investment.
Bischoff brings with him an extensive track record of investment across the U.S. and Europe, participating in the fundraising for digital health service Babylon, among others.
“Today, elderly care is characterised by a broken care seeker experience, constrained supply of high quality, affordable homes and an increasingly challenging operating environment.
“Lottie is this unique hybrid of matchmaker, comparison website and care property specialist. Blending smart technology with a dedicated team of care experts, the platform is proving itself to be an indispensable ally in helping families and retirees make easy informed choices about elderly care.
“Lottie’s mission to ‘elevate elder care’ aligns with General Catalyst’s Health Assurance thesis to drive more digitally enabled, decentralised, preventative, and equitable healthcare.
“We are energised to partner with Chris, Will, and the whole Lottie team to help build a better future for those in later life.” says Chris Bischoff, Managing Director at General Catalyst.
With the new funding, Lottie is set to expand nationally, adding new care partners and bringing its marketplace and software tools to more businesses and people around the UK.
Further investment will also be made in developing Lottie’s technology offering to help care homes with all aspects of their business, for example Lottie will be developing operational tools to help care homes and retirement operators to improve their day to day servicing of residents.
It will also be used to help bolster the team of specialist care advisers that can handle the whole care home search process, from research facilities, discussing care facilities, negotiating residency fees as well as overseeing the legal process.
From outstanding care ratings and 5* customer reviews to luxury facilities and thriving home experiences, Lottie partners with the UK’s best care homes that offer an enhanced resident experience and home culture like no other.
“Even though we’re rapidly expanding, we’re still so focused on Lottie’s core values. They’re at the heart of everything the team does.” says Chris Donnelly
“The care homes listed on Lottie are handpicked and have been vetted by Lottie’s team of care experts based on their care quality, home culture and ethical practices.
“We’re more committed than ever before to finding the right homes for care seekers and ensuring families feel as safe, secure, and happy with their decision.
“The marketplace is just the start of our vision for the later living sector, we see it as a springboard to improve the global sector as a whole: from consumer transparency, technologies inefficiencies and lack of high quality data insights.”
As part of its mission to drive change, Lottie is also planning to continue growing Seniorcare by Lottie, the UK’s only elder care benefit solution for businesses looking to support employees who are searching for care or helping an elderly loved one.
Image depicts Lottie’s co-founders, Will and Chris Donnelly.