Holly Health, the first evidence-based digital health coach for sustainable behaviour change, has picked up £1.4 million in funding. The investment came from investors, including Kima Ventures (which invested in Kiln and Rayon), Dr Fiona Pathiraja, founder of Crista Galli Ventures, Paul Forster, Ed Cooke and Silicon Valley-based Very Serious Ventures.
Tailored digital health coach
The funds will be used by Holly Health to tailor their digital health coach for healthy ageing support, in co-design with members of the public, and to support the expansion of the existing service, which is currently being rolled out through UK primary care practices.
Holly Health’s CEO and Co-founder Grace Gimson commented: “We’re over the moon to partner with Age UK Lewisham and Southwark. We know our digital health coach helps people make lasting changes to their health and wellbeing, but this project will give us the insights to develop a version of the app that best meets the needs of older adults. I know we’ll be able to show just how important digital health tools are in supporting community health. By catalysing adoption of these technologies to population level, we’re able to help more people feel better as they age.”
Ross Diamond, CEO of AUKLS commented: “We firmly believe that working with Holly Health to develop a coaching app for health behaviour changes tailored for use by older people will help us meet this aim – notably the promotion of health and wellbeing – through helping to provide tools that can enable more older people to positively manage their own health and wellbeing. We see Holly Health as being able to support a lasting change in healthy behaviours and encourage better community engagement, and look forward to the results of the planned trials.”
Paul Forster, early angel investor in the company said: “Holly Health’s digital health coach for behaviour change has huge potential to deliver mental and physical health support at scale, across all demographics and communities. I am delighted to be supporting them in their journey, and look forward to seeing the impact.”
Digital solution for healthy ageing
Reportedly, over 80% of adults over 65 have a chronic condition, which impacts quality of life, increases risk of other diseases, and costs healthcare services billions. Behavioural changes like increasing regular physical activity, are proven to help people manage or prevent chronic conditions. However, older adults often find lifestyle changes difficult to initiate and maintain, particularly without access to ongoing personalised motivation and support.
Holly Health was launched in 2021 in London by ex-Deliveroo, Facebook, Microsoft and Aldi Operations lead, Grace Gimson, and Neuroscientist and Software Engineer Dr. Claire Wu. It was created to support permanent lifestyle change across populations, including minimising and preventing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stress.
The digital health coach will be optimised to support behaviour change among older adults at home and in the community, improving access to personalised support and long term health outcomes.
As a part of the investment round, Holly Health has announced a partnership with Age UK Lewisham and Southwark (AUKLS) to promote healthy ageing in 50-70 + year olds. The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded Age UK project will support 6,000 older adults via the digital health coach, helping older people manage and improve their own health and wellbeing.
If successful, the project has the potential to scale to the Age UK national network of over 1 million older adults, and be more widely adopted by public and private healthcare providers.