Birdie, an AgeTech startup, has closed a €7m Series A funding round led by AXA, bringing the total money raised since launch in 2017 to €9.5m. Birdie endeavours to innovate the elderly care sector and, on a wider scale, change society’s management and relationship towards ageing
The company, which positions itself as the world’s first holistic ‘care companion’ platform, aims to support older adults to live healthy and independent lives within the comfort of their own home.
Through its digital apps and connected devices, Birdie optimises care in three ways: it allows care providers to ‘go paperless’ by digitising cumbersome and time-consuming admin and reporting; it facilitates communications and the sharing of information of an older adult's care between care professionals, families and other health practitioners; and it provides families with peace of mind – allowing them to follow their elderly loved one’s health and wellbeing 24/7 . Birdie is also developing state-of-the-art health analytics leveraging the data captured by care professionals and the remote sensors. Its algorithms track health conditions, predicts issues at risk of worsening and alerts the right people at the right time.
"The pace of innovation in the care industry has not met market demand for quality care of senior adults. Birdie’s ambition is to become the alternative to care homes. Supporting effective and quality domiciliary care using technology will have a radically positive social impact on an elderly individual’s quality of life and that of their family. We think it will also have a wider positive economic impact on public health services that are currently floundering under the pressures of an ever-growing ageing population. Birdie has an impressive, exciting and scalable proposition that will change the way elderly home care is currently managed,” commented Guillaume Borie, AXA Group Chief Innovation Officer.
“In a world where virtually every corner of our lives has been disrupted by technology, it’s astounding to think that the management of elderly care has largely remained untouched by such innovation. This is a sector that is crying out for meaningful support and modernisation on an unprecedented scale, and what Birdie are creating will be game changing for the care industry and society,” commented Stephane Guinet, CEO and founder of Kamet Ventures, the startup incubation studio backed by AXA.
There are approximately 2 million frailer older adults requiring home care in the UK and 3.6 million family members acting as carers in a $15bn social care market that is set to double in 10 years (AgeUK, Public.io, King's Fund) . Domiciliary care can be up to 40% cheaper than care homes and yet the services provided at home are stymied by radical underfunding compounded by issues with care staff recruitment and retention.
“We believe the future of elderly care is at home. Care homes are too expensive for many families and often lack capacity. More importantly, older adults want and deserve to stay in the comfort of their own home.” commented Max Parmentier, CEO, Birdie. “Increased budget cuts mean more caregivers are unable to continue their work; and that’s just the beginning, given that the number of dependent older adults is set to triple over the next twenty years. We found these problems across Europe, Asia and America, not just the UK. In other words, we’re currently facing a global societal crisis that is a ticking time bomb. And we need to address it urgently. At Birdie, we do not accept the status quo. We are the world's first holistic platform that builds the right technology and service model to address these issues”
Birdie was founded in July 2017 by Max Parmentier, a social entrepreneur who was inspired to develop a solution to the way in which elderly care is managed after witnessing the decline of his grandfather’s own health and well being after he was put into a care home. Prior to Birdie, Parmentier worked at McKinsey and founded and scaled up the world's largest global health e-marketplace. Incubated by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the venture was funded and supported by Bill Gates and launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016.
“As a family, we thought we were being helpful – that this was the best place in which my grandfather’s care needs could be met. But he hated being there, and I hated seeing him so confused and disorientated, lonely and unhappy. I didn’t like visiting him in that environment and, in hindsight, I realised that – just like the rest of society – I was struggling with the whole idea of ageing. Research shows that there is a 20% cognitive decline in residents living in a care home and around 90% of older adults want to live at home. With Birdie, we are determined to change the way we deal with ageing, writing a story of joy and confidence in warm homes with shared responsibility. This vision can be made a reality in millions of homes, given the right technology.”
Birdie believes it is building the most advanced algorithms to produce real time reports on personal care, infection, health risks or a decline in health, based on care providers’ information and connected devices around the home – these include activity and door sensors, fall detection wrist bands, speakerphone hubs and a panic button. Via a family-facing app, relatives know exactly when carers are visiting, how a loved one is doing, are instantly notified when behaviour is out of the ordinary, and can access care professionals support immediately through the app – whether it's the on-call GP, carer, tech support or transportation needs.
“We want families to sit with their parents and grandparents, comfortable in their home, surrounded by their history and the ones they love,” continued Parmentier. “We believe that elderly care can happen at home through a combination of informal care from families and friends, formal care from professionals, and empowered adults who confidently take control of their health and ultimately their lives. Our geriatricians say we could lower the emergency rushes to the hospitals by 20% with our prevention analytics. With our solution, we believe we can save lives.”
Birdie will use the funds to develop its product further, scale-up its 20-strong team and increase its partnerships with care agencies nationwide.
For press enquiries and interviews with Max Parmentier, CEO of Birdie, please contact Andrea San Pedro, ASP PR, tel: +44 (0) 7970468982, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Birdie is a care companion, offering not only an alternative to care homes but keeping our older, invaluably precious, generation healthy and independent at home, while giving families reassurance, confidence and support. Birdie believes that elderly care can happen at home through a combination of informal care from families and friends, formal care from professionals and empowered adults who confidently take control of their health and ultimately their lives. It provides digital solutions that connect everyone involved in the circle of care, giving mutual confidence and a collective peace of mind. Families can coordinate, interact, and follow their elderly parents health and wellbeing, identifying and being notified in real-time of any issues such as a fall, or absence.
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