Lottie raises £16.35m to confront the social care crisis, elevate the standard of later living

Lottie raises £16.35m to confront the social care crisis, elevate the standard of later living

Published: 09-10-2023 11:52:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 2234 | Tags:

London-based Lottie, the free online marketplace that connects care seekers and retirees to UK care homes, home care services, and retirement living communities, announced it has raised £16.35 million Series A funding round led by Accel, with participation from previous investor General Catalyst. This brings the total amount raised by the company to £25 million. Lottie will use the investment to confront the growing social care crisis and elevate the standard of later living by further investing in its suite of technology products that significantly improves the care seeker experience. The company will expand its 50-strong team based in London, with the aim of doubling headcount in 2024. 

Across the UK, care home availability has reached its lowest point in over a decade, amid a backdrop of an ageing population and stagnant state funding: new government data suggests there is a £2.3 billion shortfall in England's care home funding. Moreover, the experience for care seekers is complicated, stressful and time consuming, with people contacting an average of six services before finding a provider that fits their personal care needs. Most have no real sense of how much care should cost, little up-to-date information on services, and no support throughout what can be a distressing time. 

Will Donnelly, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Lottie: "We set out to build Lottie after experiencing firsthand the fundamental issues in the UK social care sector: namely a lack of high quality affordable care and an outdated, emotionally taxing process for individuals and families urgently looking to find care for their loved ones. Everyone deserves the best possible quality of life in their later years, and Lottie is helping to drive real change in the care search process, while supporting our provider partners in delivering better health outcomes for residents, improved operational efficiencies and huge cost savings via our software products. Our goal for Lottie is to become the trusted adviser to care seekers throughout the world - helping families best understand, find and fund later life care. Over 500,000 Britons now visit Lottie every month, and we're incredibly excited to have Accel join General Catalyst and Kindred on our journey, helping to fuel our next stage of growth and continue in our mission to elevate later life for everybody." 

Lottie was founded in 2021 by Will and Chris Donnelly, who experienced firsthand the struggles of finding affordable care services for family members. The brothers launched Lottie with the goal of elevating later life for the older generation, modernising the process of finding care, and ensuring that standards of care are improved across the whole sector. Lottie will become the UK's first end-to-end marketplace experience for finding care, simplifying the search process so anyone can seamlessly book care online in a similar way to reserving a hotel room via Booking.com or Expedia. With Lottie, care seekers can find, compare and enquire directly with more than 4,000 high-quality care, home care and retirement living services, as well as having the support of Lottie's team of care experts through each stage of the search process. Lottie also grants full transparency of pricing and service availability, an industry first that means care seekers can see exactly how much their care will cost and whether the service is accepting new clients. 

Beyond its core marketplace, Lottie has developed Found by Lottie - a suite of technology tools it acquired in 2022, designed to upgrade the outdated services offered within care homes themselves. Found offers care providers powerful tools to effectively manage enquiries, customer relationships, networking, occupancy, finance and billing, and to show real-time bed availability. By working towards "instant bed bookings", Found has the potential to massively relieve the winter pressures on the NHS, where discharge nurses and social workers still have to manually find care homes for patients ready to be discharged. This leads to expensive rates and an inefficient process, as well as a 'bed-blocking' crisis in which patients who could be discharged remain in hospital.

Lottie has already matched tens of thousands of families with care and retirement service providers. The London based start-up recorded a 300% growth in customers and revenue over the last 12 months, with more than 500,000 monthly users. Lottie also recently added home care as a new category to its marketplace, including its Direct to Carer solution, which allows families to find and book a high-quality carer without having to go through an agency, giving them more choice and control of the carer selection process. 

The fresh investment will be used to expand Lottie's marketplace coverage in the UK and to continue developing the platform's innovative software offerings for care homes. The company will also invest in artificial intelligence and has plans to develop a data insight tool aimed at helping the industry's key stakeholders make better informed decisions and to help the sector become sustainable in the long-term. 

Sonali De Rycker, Partner, Accel: "Digital marketplaces have transformed our lives. We expect glossy, transparent, low-touch experiences when booking holidays, buying groceries and doing everything in-between. For some reason, eldercare has been left behind. Will and Chris are on a mission to level up an industry stuck in the dark ages. Lottie offers consumers the modern discovery and booking experience they deserve when finding help for loved ones. In parallel, they offer care providers a suite of tools to shift online and upgrade their operations. Meeting Will and Chris is an experience you don't forget: they're an ambitious, high integrity team chasing a significant and important opportunity. We're excited to be part of their journey."

Chris Bischoff, Managing Director, General Catalyst: "We believe the Lottie team has made great strides in their mission to provide transparency and support for families searching for quality care. They have demonstrated the ability to collaborate with care partners who share their commitment to modernising home care with sustainability, safety, and quality of life in mind. These values align with our Health Assurance thesis and we are excited to participate in their positive impact and continued growth."