Crowdfunding the way forward for a Teddington online care business
“It started when my mother mistook me for our family cat.” After noticing the signs of dementia in his mother, local man Simon met an elderly seaman who regaled him, over an enforced brandy, with remarkable war time tales. Twice sunk in the Atlantic, he sang the songs that kept him alive whilst clinging onto flotsam. Then his mother revealed a romance ignited in Churchill’s war rooms, whilst moving pieces across the flight maps….. Simon realised that early memories were the key to communicating with those with dementia – obvious really.
As a result, he decided to get involved in the care of the elderly. Two years later, after meeting Etienne and working with experts, a prototype was built. Re-MindMe, through ‘reminiscence therapy’, stimulates communication, social interaction and self-esteem. It also provides a management system to support families, carers and care homes. “We trialed in an NHS memory clinic and seeing eyes light up with recognition, then bursting into song was very rewarding”, said Etienne.
Then came the recession and despite support from UCL, Age UK and the Royal Free, they ran out of money. The light bulb moment came when Simon remembered two young women who had cared for his mother. Frustrated with the care process, they used their iPads to entertain her. “They’d said that if I started a care business they’d invest £500….if people with very limited resources wanted to invest, why not invite everyone?”
Increasingly popular with first-time investors, FSA regulated crowdfunding platforms involve new businesses asking the public to put cash into their venture in return for shares or products. Investors often qualify for tax breaks of up to 50% under the EIS & SEIS Enterprise Investment Schemes, even sometimes backdated.
“I read Crowdcube’s website and was convinced it was perfect for us to raise the funds required to launch. “Consider Georgina Adams”, said Simon; “I'm 26, a young investor … I look for companies that have found a gap, not just another restaurant! … I like the personal involvement you get with investing in start-ups… I also like to see an element of social purpose.”
They now have two missions; to give Re-MindMe free to ten local care homes and to provide their investors with the same 10 times return on investment that Venture Capitalists’ demand.
Health-Connected, is holding investor meetings at Lensbury Club on 29th April and at the House of Commons in May, hosted by Dr V. Cable. For more information visit www.health-connected.com
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