Cera, a provider of healthcare in people’s homes that provides a platform for caregivers to monitor patient health and potential complications, has raised $320 million (£260 million) in a 50/50 equity and debt financing.
The equity side of the funding round was led by existing investor Kairos HQ, Vanderbilt University Endowment, Schroders Capital, Jane Street Capital, Yabeo Capital, Square Dot Capital, Guinness Asset Management, Altre Impact, 8090 Partners, tech investor Robin Klein (of LocalGlobe fame) and others. . Cera declined to name the debt partner.
The company now plans to grow 15,000 patients daily to 100,000. Ironically, 15,000 inpatient beds, equivalent to the 40 NHS hospitals promised by Britain’s ruling Conservative Party two years ago, have yet to deliver.
The statistics show how in-home patient care has been radicalized by technology startups using remote monitoring or hiring caregivers to manually enter patient data into apps. It will eventually make long-term care in hospitals obsolete, as the home can be just as efficient a place to deliver care.
It is estimated that over 88% of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the US are investing in remote patient monitoring technologies. US-based startups in the sector have raised GYANT, $23M, Netera ($8.5M) and Binah.ai ($13.5M).
Sierra’s proprietary system is less tech-heavy, but it’s all clearly on the path to greater automation, the same way Uber and Lyft drivers may one day be replaced by driverless taxis.
The German-based company offers home care, nursing, telehealth and prescription services and claims it is 10 times cheaper than serving a patient in a hospital. The staff collects patient symptoms and health data at home, which is then used to predict worsening conditions before they occur, which triggers medical intervention. The company says this can reduce hospitalization rates by more than 50% and has other benefits such as patient falls, infections and medication and prescription adherence.
With hospitals strained and staffed at peak levels after the worst of the pandemic, these technology-enhanced services may rise among healthcare providers.
In the year Dr. Ben Marutapu MBA, who founded the startup in 2016, told me: “What we’re doing is mirroring what’s happened in other industries like ride-hailing or other services that come directly to your home. Much of the healthcare technology is now being graduated into healthcare at home. “We started with older people because they have the highest number of care visitors,” he said.
Brexit has had a negative impact on healthcare in the UK as 7% of NHS staff come from the EU, but Sera has been able to quickly train people from other industries into healthcare roles, he said. “More than 60% of our hires come from healthcare. It’s like ride-sharing becoming more accessible to taxi drivers, and that’s when it pays off,” he said.
Marutapu added that the company eventually plans to move to a SAAS model where it allows other technology and care providers to use its services.