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An Introduction To Care Messenger®

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Care Messenger (www.caremessenger.co.uk) is a unique, simple, direct-to-TV messaging and video pop-up service which overlays a live TV broadcast stream without any need to change channels or inputs.

The solution is directed at the 5m+ people in the UK (>200m globally) who do not or will not use computers, touch-screen tablets, or smartphones, but are familiar with their own TV and a remote control.

Making a serious difference to the social world of the elderly and disabled (many of whom suffer from acute loneliness and isolation), Care Messenger connects families to loved ones, and offers substantive cost benefits and efficiencies to healthcare, social care, and housing providers who deploy it.

The Company has close partnerships and developing distribution channels that include Nottingham Community Housing Association, NHS24 Scotland, Carewatch/MyLife, Tunstall (UK, USA, Spain) and Telmenow. Nottingham Community Housing Association has recently won a national award with the system in 3rd Sector Care.

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Initial pilot sales in 2015 were £49k, further early projects delivered £135k sales in 2016 and this year the company has c.£500k sales in the pipeline. There is clear opportunity beyond this for high growth both in the UK and abroad as the developed sales channels move from pilot to roll-out phase.

Revenues are annually recurring with high margin and are expected to reach £10.8m by 2022 with profits of £5.5m, but this growth could be accelerated and increased with further follow-on investment after 12 months, which at least three institutional investors have expressed interest in.

Why is there a need for such a solution?

There are several key drivers and issues which create the need for an accessible messaging solution:

Ageing population

As people are living longer, the elderly demographic (those over 65, but very significantly 75 to 100 years) is increasing dramatically.

  • The median age for the UK population rose from 33.9 years in 1974 to 40.0 years in 2014, a rise of 6.1 years. This is its highest ever value and the figure shows the UK population has been consistently getting older (source: www.ons.gov.uk)

  • Of those aged 65, men can now expect to live for another 19 years and women a further 21 years (ONS)

Among developed nations, South Korea is likely to see the largest increase in life expectancy, with women born in 2030 averaging 90.8 years, 6.6 years longer than those born in 2010 UK (source: Medical Research Council and the US Environmental Protection Agency).

Isolation and loneliness

While loneliness can affect a wide age range, the concentration of this social challenge is in the elderly age group, particularly where a partner has lost their spouse and they are living alone.

With work relocations, families can be separated geographically from their elderly parents:

  • 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)

  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and above live alone (ONS, 2010). Nonetheless, nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age (Research by AARP [www.aarp.org]).

  • Two fifths of all older people (approximately 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)

  • Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke (Valtorta et al, 2016)

  • Loneliness puts individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline (James et al, 2011). One study concludes lonely people have a 64% increased chance of developing clinical dementia (Holwerda et al, 2012)

  • Society at large now operates with ‘abbreviated’ contact - texting is more common than phone calls, utilisation of WhatsApp messaging and picture or video sharing in Facebook or Twitter, Snapchat etc has transplanted conversation, or in business by email. The elderly, who are typically less comfortable engaging with these platforms, are often left out. Care Messenger® offers them a simple, digital route to participating in social media and re-connecting with their relatives.

    Research shows that families are seizing the Care Messenger® concept as an ideal tool to increase contact, while accommodating their busy lives where constant phone contact isn’t always possible. A platform that allows them to send pictures, videos, and short messages is a way of bridging the gap and addressing this social isolation.

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Need for better, easy to use & cost effective technology led communication

  • Inability or unwillingness of the elderly to use the full range of digital communication tools means it can be difficult for companies to contact elderly clients outside of carer visits, a problem replicated for families

  • Only 23% of those 65+ actively use mobile phones, computers or tablets. Many who have them never switch them on, forget to charge them, or misplace them (Ageing in Place Technology Watch)

  • A digital message (using Care Messenger®) can be free, as opposed to a phone call at £3, a letter at £5 and a visit at £15. Mears, a leading UK domiciliary care and home care provider, calculated that one hour of care per customer per month saved by utilising Care Messenger® would pay for the cost of the system. Additionally, NCHA calculated an ROI of 314% by utilising the Care Messenger® technology as a digital channel to customers.

Familiarity with technology and physical impairments

Younger seniors (55-70) may well be already using email, smartphones, tablets and similar technology, but the majority of older ‘seniors’ (>70, but also accounting for some younger depending on social class, education, and engagement with technology) have not grown up with the new communication technologies, are not used to working them, or have various maladies (visual impairment, loss of motor coordination, dexterity, mobility etc) that make touch screen or second screen technology difficult and not appropriate for them.

How does it work?

It’s simple! You can send text messages, photos and videos from your phone or computer to a loved one’s television! All you need is:

  • A HDMI compatible TV
  • The Care Messenger® set top box and remote

As CEO Paul Slaughter explains, the Care Messenger® mission is "to become the global messaging platform of choice for the elderly population – WhatsApp for the elderly’ as our customers refer to us, or ‘Instagran’!  We know from independent research that 76% of families like Care Messenger® and would even buy it on behalf of their parents to stay in touch with their elderly loved ones."

Care Messenger® is now on the GrowthFunders platform, available for investment of £550,000 in exchange for 21.57% equity. Click here to view the investment offer. Please note your capital is at risk and the value of your investment can go down or up.

Driving Growth.
Creating Value.
Delivering Impact.

Backed by

Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) is backed by funds managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s leading private equity and alternative asset managers.