startups And Financing
In a world where the ageing population is growing and the shortage of caregivers is a pressing challenge, one individual and her company have taken up the mantle of transforming the way we care for elders. Afroditi Konidari, the visionary CEO of Tendertec, is on a mission to unlock healthy ageing and offer innovative solutions for elder care.
In the following interview, we delve into the heart of Tendertec's vision and innovation, exploring their AI-based solutions and the profound impact they have on improving the quality of life for our elders.
Could you share the driving force behind Tendertec's commitment to unlocking healthy ageing and caring for our elders?
Our mission is propelled by the pressing challenge of a severe shortage of care workers in Europe, exceeding one million, and the rising cost of elder care. This demographic shift has far-reaching consequences for labor markets, healthcare systems, family structures, and intergenerational dynamics. Elders are not getting the care they need, and families are shouldering the increasing burden of caregiving. Our driving force is to alleviate this strain, enhance the quality of life for our elders and their caregivers, and empower them to age with dignity and grace.
Can you share the inspiration behind founding Tendertec and your vision for the company?
Rui Zhang and I founded Tendertec after witnessing the challenges of caring for our aging parents while living far from home, a challenge faced by millions worldwide. Most people are unaware that in Europe, 80% of all care provided is by families and friends, not care workers. At the same time, professional care providers are struggling due to labor shortages. Our vision is to provide elders and their caregivers with better ageing and caring journeys, relieving the overwhelming experiences, responsibilities, and uncertainties associated with ageing and caregiving. Our unique backgrounds and expertise in the UK digital health, AI, and smart building sectors over the past decade have propelled us to redefine this space.
With a growing elderly population and a lack of caregiving personnel, the quality of life for our elders seems to be on the decline. How does Tendertec contribute to improving the quality of life for our elders?
Tendertec is an award-winning AI start-up in a market populated by reactive products. Our AI platform, Hestia, uses machine learning and heat sensing to identify hidden risks and missed hazards and to keep elders socially connected. Hestia is the first AI co-pilot, unlocking better ageing and caring journeys. We distinguish ourselves from existing solutions by providing actionable insights unlocking prevention, not just alerts driving reactions that have poor results. Importantly, we do not use wearables and respect elders' privacy by not utilizing invasive cameras.
Social impact is vital for mission-driven organizations. How does Tendertec contribute to the broader fight against the social care gap?
Tendertec's impact extends beyond deep tech innovation. We contribute directly to relieving the burden on families and caregivers, enabling more vulnerable individuals to age at home with dignity and an enhanced quality of life. At the same time, we enable professional care providers to care for more people with greater quality using the same resources. In this context, we are enabling National Healthcare systems to remain sustainable yet better at supporting our ageing populations. Our social impact has been recognized by the Welsh Government, UK Research and Innovation, and the European Commission, who have backed us with R&D grants to de-risk our innovation. By addressing these issues, we are contributing to social welfare on a grand scale in an underserved and vast market.
What challenges do you anticipate in the future of healthcare, especially in the realm of AI?
The evolving healthcare landscape presents several challenges. These include addressing care worker shortages, managing escalating care costs, and ensuring early intervention. While AI holds immense promise in tackling these challenges, it also requires a deep understanding of user needs and acceptance. Tendertec excels in this context, investing in user-centered design to ensure Hestia is integrated into users' everyday lives, empowers caregivers, and provides comprehensive support. This approach sets us apart in a market where user acceptance has been a persistent challenge for other tech solutions. Hestia is poised to be at the forefront of this transformation by providing continuous support and insights to both caregivers and elders.
How have Metavallon VC and other supporters contributed beyond funding to accelerate Tendertec's growth and development?
Our supporters, including Metavallon VC, have been instrumental in providing invaluable guidance and mentorship in our journey. They are our champions and have played a critical role in building Tendertec's wider network of champions, driving the company’s growth. Our current round is led by the Development Bank of Wales, bringing not just funding but also access to a vast network of contacts and experts that will open doors in the UK's Health and Social Care sectors to support Tendertec’s scale-up in the market.
What has been an unexpected lesson since Tendertec’s inception?
The overwhelming demand for AI to assist in the delivery of care has taken us by surprise. We are sleepwalking into an era where individuals currently in their 40s and 50s face ageing poorly in solitude without proactive interventions in a world with fewer carers. In this context, Tendertec is viewed as a way to augment the ability of carers, paid and unpaid, to provide better support to more people. Testament to this is our retention rate, with over 80% of current Hestia users sticking with our product for over 2 years. As we secure more working capital and funding, we anticipate sustaining this robust growth trajectory.
Why should investors join this round, from your perspective?
Investors should consider joining this round because Tendertec is at the forefront of a large, transforming market embracing AI. Our deep tech innovation addresses the critical and growing social care gap. We are poised to lead the way in a market that remains underserved and untapped by Big Tech companies struggling to find scalable entry points. This offers exciting potential for significant returns and exit opportunities for investors.
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