The U.K. care home sector has been shrinking in capacity in recent times, a happening that has been considered a growing problem due to the steady rise of the average age of the general population.
Despite the home sector market being estimated at £7.7 billion market in 2021, a lack of transparency over pricing and service availability, has created a challenge for families seeking to acquire the most suitable care home for their elderly loved ones.
Lottie seeks to address the problem with an online marketplace that helps those seeking such care find the best care homes and services for their needs, while also catering to additional categories such as home-care.
Founded out of London in 2021 by brothers, Will and Chris Donnelly, Lottie claims some 500,000 monthly users, which the company says represent 300% growth over the past 12 months. Following on from a $7 million funding round last year, the company announced on Thursday, 12th October that it has raised $21 million (£16.35 million) in a Series A round of funding led by U.S. venture capital (VC) giant, Accel, with participation from existing backer, General Catalyst.
TechCrunch says Lottie acquired a care home software company called Found in 2022, which many care homes already used to manage the occupancy and customer relations management (CRM) side of their business. Off the back of this, Lottie is now offering real-time service availability, only displaying listings that have actual capacity, which saves time for families that need to find a care home quickly.
“Prior to Lottie, and based on our research, families would find themselves contacting an average of six services before reaching a service that had availability and could meet their care requirements,” Lottie co-founder and co-CEO, Will Donnelly, explained “By contrast, Lottie allows families to instantly connect with services accepting new clients today, and therefore supercharges the search process.”
With Found integrated into its marketplace, Lottie can offer care providers an all-round platform for managing enquiries, customer relationships, occupancy, financials, etc. In future, Lottie will manage payments, so that families can pay directly through the platform similar to other booking marketplaces.
“In addition to this, Found will allow Lottie to digitise the viewing, health assessment and referencing stages of the booking process, all of which remain offline today and are currently undertaken via manual means,” Donnelly said.
Lottie’s business model has it monetizing via several streams. Through its core marketplace, care providers are currently charged for lead generations and billed on a pay-per-query basis.
“This charge model supports Lottie in giving care seekers access to care services with immediate vacancies, as providers will turn off their listings once they’re service is at full capacity, and they no longer wish to pay for additional new enquiries,” Donnelly said.
With Lottie shifting to a marketplace model via its Found integration, it intends to take a percentage fee from the duration of each residency booked through the Lottie platform. With Lottie being a SaaS company, it will also be charging care providers for using its software, with a subscription model starting at £150 per month.