The challenge of pairing care workers with facilities and staffing needs
Why we invested in Florence
It is estimated that a million more healthcare workers will be needed in UK alone in the next decade because of reasons including an ageing population and a growing proportion of people living with more complex health needs. Meanwhile, the economics of the labor market are challenging with a general shortage of workers coupled with increased competition for these workers from other sectors and low wages. Workers suffer from the inefficiencies of an antiquated staffing market which lead to burnout, poor recognition, and lack of career development. The pandemic exacerbated these healthcare staffing issues and made clear the need for a solution to fix a broken market and improve the healthcare market for workers, providers, and patients. After meeting the Florence team, we think they are the best shot at solving this multi-stakeholder crisis.
Florence, our latest investment, is a two-sided marketplace that pairs nurses and care workers with facilities with staffing needs. The company is disrupting a very large market traditionally dominated by slow-moving and inefficient brick-and-mortar staffing agencies, and where care home hiring managers are manually managing their staffing needs with phone calls and spreadsheets. Florence’s platform transforms this process into a fully digital experience, automating worker onboarding, job posting, matching and back-office admin. It cuts out the middleman and surfaces data on care homes and workers to significantly level-up the user experience on both sides. What particularly excited us here at AVP was the ability for Florence to utilize technology and focused execution to turn over a large and broken market riddled with inefficiencies.
NHS doctor Charles Armitage and ex-British Military officer Dan Blake founded Florence in 2017 in response to the UK’s care staffing crisis. As soon as we met Charles and Dan, we were confident that this would be the right team to execute the mission of turning over this healthcare staffing market. Together, they have the right balance of entrepreneurial energy and humility it takes to successfully scale care-delivery in a human-centric and trust-based value chain. Having experienced much of the system’s intricacies from the inside, Charles and Dan are incredibly passionate about solving an important problem in a market they know intimately. The metrics speak for themselves; they grew the business fivefold with strong economics, launched a new market, and tripled headcount. What makes us even more excited is the long-term vision for the company, having added e-learning and a scheduling software to the product suite. This will integrate separate pieces of the value chain and help Florence become a complete end-to-end solution, further improving the quality and availability of social care.
We’ve seen the rise of several healthcare gig-economy marketplaces (e.g., Clipboard, Nomad, Shiftkey, etc…), most of which are US-based and familiar to the VC world. The extra European complexity of different healthcare systems, regulations and languages has meant it lags the US but a revolution in social care staffing is just as much needed here. Florence is the player with the most complete vision and technology leadership to win this market just as they’ve done at home, which is why we’re proud help them crack the rest of Europe and beyond.