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Connell C - LB Mar 2022

Digital behaviour change coach Holly Health raises £1.4m

Holly Health
Grace Gimson and Dr Claire Wu

Holly Health, a digital health coach for sustainable behaviour change, has raised £1.4 million from investors including Kima Ventures, the founder of Crista Galli Ventures Dr Fiona Pathiraja, Paul Forster, Ed Cooke and Silicon Valley-based Very Serious Ventures.

The investment was boosted by a £540,000 award from UK Research and Innovation for the Healthy Ageing Challenge, for a collaboration with Age UK Lewisham and Southwark (AUKLS) to help improve the physical and mental health of 50 to 70-plus year olds, by slowing the onset of chronic conditions with digital health tools.

Holly Health will use the funding to tailor its digital health coach and expand its service, which is being rolled out through UK primary care practices. The company was launched in August last year by ex-Deliveroo, Facebook, Microsoft and Aldi operations lead, Grace Gimson, and neuroscientist and software engineer Dr Claire Wu.

During an 18-month project, 6,000 older adults will be impacted by the digital health coach bring integrated across Age UK Lewisham and Southwark’s network of groups, classes, events and care services.

If successful, Holly Health stated that the project has the potential to scale to the Age UK national network of more than million older adults, and be more widely adopted by public and private healthcare providers.

Chief executive Gimson said: “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, chief executive of AUKLS added: “Age UK Lewisham and Southwark exists to improve the lives of older people, working towards a future in which all people are valued, safe, and empowered to make choices about their lives. 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, an early angel investor in the company commented: “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.”

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