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  • Written by Fleur Townley


A young company is breaking the aged care mould, providing best practice care at home by combining cutting-edge technology and services centred on the person and their family.  Investors have doubled down on its early success.

 

In a clear display of confidence from investors, aged care industry newcomers Five Good Friends has leveraged its early success, securing an additional $5 million from repeat investors in a second capital-raising round that was oversubscribed. The company successfully raised $4 million in their first round.

 

Launched in 2016, Five Good Friends is the brainchild of Nathan Betteridge and Simon Lockyer, who previously worked together to found Everyday Hero, the world’s second largest charity crowd fundraising platform. Mr Lockyer was also a co-founder of Youngcare, a social enterprise focused on creating age-appropriate accommodations for young people with high care needs. With this social entrepreneurial experience behind them, the duo identified that the aged care industry was ripe for disruption and set about shaking up the outdated and inefficient home care sector.

 

“We know that what older people really want is to age well at home, where they feel safe and secure, where they already have a network, a sense of community. What we’re doing with Five Good Friends is enabling people to stay in their homes for longer, reducing the financial pressure on our economy, and improving health outcomes for our customers.”

 

The Federal Government is well aware of the savings made possible by reducing the numbers of elderly people in residential facilities, outlining a clear focus on keeping people in their homes for longer. In the May 2018 Federal Budget, 14,000 new high-level home care places were announced, at a cost of around $1.6 billion over four years. These places came on top of the 6,000 high-level places previously announced in December 2017.

 

“It’s great to see the government recognising the desire of people to grow old in their own homes, however the outdated services of existing providers has resulted in home care packages being used inefficiently,” explains Nathan Betteridge. “Our goal is to transform the category from ‘Home Care’ to ‘Caring Homes’, with our strategy based on a combination of high touch and high tech. While we’ve been described as a tech start-up by some commentators, what we are first and foremost is a human services business, powered by technology. Our customers are always at the forefront of everything we design in the business, which is what sets us apart from our competitors.”

 

The recently announced Royal Commission is seeking to identify "examples of good practice and innovative models in delivering aged care services” as well as inquiring into “how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure”. These are all issues Five Good Friends are seeking to address through their innovative technology and services platform.

 

Five Good Friends’ success is also driven on its established partnerships, with the company partnering nationally with Stockland Retirement and APIA, Australia’s leading provider of insurance to the over 50s market.

 

“Partnering with both Stockland and APIA allow us to raise brand awareness and attract customers, as well as drive organic community referrals in a geographically-focused way,” explains Mr Lockyer.

 

Trevor Folsom from Investible, one of Five Good Friends’ repeat investors, is confident in the company’s ability to transform the home care industry, stating, “Five Good Friends is well on the way to achieving its targets via its Approved Provider status, channel partners and expansion of its community manager network. For all these reasons, we have come in on the second round of capital raising.”

 

The latest capital raised will be used to drive growth to profitability, enhance the Five Good Friends technology platform, and prepare the business for entry into new markets like the fragmented $22 billion NDIS market. It will also be used to drive referrals through partner channels, as well as invest in new channels such as General Practice and Allied Health.

 

About Five Food Friends

 

Five Good Friends provides a simple solution to a complex problem, using an app powered by sophisticated peer-to-peer technology to connect its network of qualified carers with older people who need extra assistance around the house. Customers and their families can see which carers are scheduled to visit and when, and have far greater choice and control in the services they book. Carers are carefully matched with customers based on personality, location and care requirements. While many aged care providers have been reluctant to embrace technology, Five Good Friends has found that the sense of connection provided by the custom app is what drives the satisfaction of both their customers and their network of carers.

 

“Having a different person come into your home every day to help you with intimate and personal activities can be a terrible experience,” explains Mr Betteridge. “Older people should be able to maintain their dignity and not be made to feel vulnerable, which is why we focus so much on matching our carers with our customers, and then nurturing that relationship for the long-term.”

 

With this focus on providing consistency of service, Five Good Friends has experienced strong growth to date, with 10% month on month growth in visits, a current customer acquisition rate of over one per day and industry leading Net Promoter Scores constantly over 65. Five Good Friends’ carers have delivered more than 105,000 hours of help to customers in their own homes, and the company has rapidly expanded to service the east coast of Australia and other locations (Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Port Macquarie, Central Coast NSW, Sydney, Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Warrnambool, Adelaide and Victor Harbour).

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