Healthy lifestyle app Caterpillar secures funding

Caterpillar

Leeds-based Caterpillar, a digital rewards app for health promotion, education and behavioural change, has secured £450,000 in funding from investors including venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners.

The healthtech company said it will use the funds to add new features to the app, expand the range of loyalty schemes it offers, and for other areas of business development.

The app was founded by ex-NHS Digital director of strategic communications, Paul Baverstock, and rewards users for physical activity and improved dietary habits, with loyalty points redeemable at popular chains such as Vue Cinemas and online gym class provider Hustle.

The app is built on a software-as-a-service platform and connects to third-party wearables and health apps, such as Google Fit and Apple Health. This lets users automatically accrue reward points without having to input data manually.

Baverstock said: “Our idea is simple. We use behavioural science and rewards-based nudges to help people make healthy life changes that stick and to help prevent the onset of expensive to treat avoidable ill-health. Chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity creep up on you and take advantage of the fact that making even minor beneficial lifestyle changes for the long term is really difficult. This is where Caterpillar can help. We keep our users engaged in positive change through great content and rewards.

“This funding enables us to enrich our app, add engaging new features and capabilities, and is a key step towards us achieving our goal of helping millions of people live healthier lives.”

Jeffrey Faustin, chief investment officer at Jenson Funding Partners, commented: “Caterpillar is doing really important work. Chronic disease is already a major problem for healthcare systems, but many countries, the UK included, have an ageing population. This means the issue is only going to get worse. Caterpillar is trying to tackle this challenge with a preventative approach rooted in science. But what’s key is the fact that this isn’t about nagging people. Its reward programmes and loyalty points have a huge consumer appeal. It’s a very savvy solution to a very serious problem.”

Caterpillar is the first company from Leeds start-up incubator Build to receive funding. Build was set up in collaboration between Leeds City Council and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supports early stage businesses with a 12-week entrepreneurship and networking programme.

Date published: March 30, 2022

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