In the UK, the care sector is under incredible strain, it’s good to know there are people working hard to address the issue.
One of the biggest challenges facing western societies is to provide adequate care for the growing number of elderly people and those living for longer with chronic conditions and disabilities. Enter Intelligent Lilli – a SaaS company driven by a desire to help people live independently in their homes for longer.
CEO Gren takes some time out of his busy schedule to share his Secrets of Success with Business Matters …
What products or services do you provide?
Our software solution supports care providers to provide better levels and more appropriate care by unobtrusively monitoring the behaviour of vulnerable people, using a range of smart Internet Of Things sensors. Our platform then uses machine learning to establish their ‘baseline’ pattern based on the trends of their everyday behaviour. From this, the smart algorithm identifies soft-signs and slight changes in someone’s normal behavioural pattern that could indicate a change in health condition, enabling carers to act early on to prevent a problem worsening. Ultimately our new form of proactive and preventative care gives older and vulnerable people safety and independence to live in their homes for longer.
What type of businesses do you work with?
As an approved supplier to Her Majesty’s Government, we work with a wide range of local authority social care providers and healthcare organisations, including NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups. We also work with housing associations and other private organisations in the home care space, such as domiciliary home care agencies, to help them deliver better, more informed care, and support them with the ever increasing pressure on resources.
What problem does your company solve?
In the UK, the care sector is under incredible strain, exacerbated by the pandemic and the yet to be fully understood impact of conditions such as long Covid. When combined with a well publicised and ongoing chronic labour crisis in the sector, and a recent history of sustained financial pressure from a lack of meaningful central government investment, it’s clear a shake-up is needed. In the aftermath of the pandemic and with a social care sector that is not seeing the change it needs, without the intervention of new technologies such as user-centred AI-driven innovation the likes of Lilli, these problems will only worsen despite some attempts to reform social care funding. The government thankfully shows some recognition of the need for change and innovation with £150 million set aside to promote the adoption of digital technology in social care. But we need to do more, and key to that will be strong, innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors.
What is your USP?
At Lilli, we’re laser focused on the way in which we can help care providers and local authorities tackle the mounting crisis facing the sector head-on. A big part of this will be shifting remote care from the current reactive, alarm-based approach to a more accurate, data-driven preventive methodology that is highly personalised and prolongs service-user independence. By enabling early intervention through a more proactive form of care technology, it can hugely reduce the need for more complex and costly treatment, hospital admissions or residential care further down the line.
Lilli’s solution uses discreet sensor technology, AI and machine learning to establish an individual’s normal behaviour and spot the signs that could be early predictors of deterioration.
This highly personalised approach enables carers to step in early to nip problems in the bud or provide an intervention or care solution that better fits their needs that can prolong independence and a more fulfilling life. This is a major advance from the crude alarm-based systems that take no account of individual patterns of behaviour, generate many false positives and alert carers only after a crisis event such as a fall has occurred or serious deterioration has already set in. The Lilli system helps care providers optimise the use of their resources by allowing them to understand where their care is needed the most, preventing mismatched, oversubscribed or undersubscribed care package.
What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?
Lilli is first and foremost a purpose-driven business, and our mission is built into everything that we do. Our mission is built on the belief that everyone has the choice to live happily, safely and independently in their own home, and it’s the goal of making a positive difference to people’s lives that drives us as an organisation.
Internally we’ve built a strong foundation that is centred around our core values. We live by these every day and all of our teammates have helped to shape them and help us hold true to them. They are the core of who we are and what we do, and are the foundation of our success as a business. They are also what makes Lilli as a brand, and what helped us to create a product that really connects with people and our customers. We are proud of what we do, and we really hope this authenticity and integrity shines through in how we are as a group of people, as well as a business.
How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?
At Lilli, the pandemic forced us to adapt our recruitment approach to finding the right candidates by emphasising the broader positive purpose behind our product and really putting forward what we stand for. We have also put the creation of a unique, collaborative, forward thinking working culture right at the very centre of how we approach our people strategy and this not just how we talk about Lilli to prospective team mates in the recruitment process, but how it plays an important role in helping us retain the best staff who want to create the best product through a shared vision of the life changing benefits it can bring.
As a result we have been able to build a business with some incredible talent on board, with teammates who align with our company values and who are fearless in their genuine desire to make a difference and create something different, whether that be in society or in their day-to-day role. We ask nothing more from them other than to be authentic, be a team player and to get real joy out of our product and the solutions it can offer.
Are you happy to offer a hybrid working model of home/office post-covid?
Having very successfully recruited a leadership team, rebranded and built a wider team through the pandemic, remote working holds no fears for us, and in fact we have been built as a remote first business right from the start. It was months before many of us met in person and yet the business has rocketed forward and achieved incredible milestones, something which as a leader I am incredibly proud of. We have made real efforts in building our internal culture including regular in person meet ups and positive social focused team calls where we get to bond and talk about all the things you would expect in the office to ensure we do maintain the important personal element and ensure to create a human connection in the way we communicate with each other, despite not always physically being in a room together.
Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?
We have a truly authentic purpose and mission, and we hold onto that tightly to ensure that customers and suppliers remain happy that Lilli exists and is having a positive impact. But you must also rise up against the challenges and face them head on, without taking them as a personal attack on youFor us at Lilli, we acknowledge that the key to any successful relationship is to truly understand how you can work together to achieve the best outcome. As part of this, we prioritise taking the time to really talk to our customers, and understanding their pain points. By doing this, it allows us to provide them with an approach that adds real value and is bespoke to their needs, and we can then continue to support them every step of the way through rollout and adoption.
Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?
Don’t be afraid to spend money, but spend it as if you’ll never get anymore. You need to prioritise your spend, based on what you ‘need’ for your business, not what you want. That need should always have a return against it. Not necessarily a monetary return, but by realising that any spend must take your business further and faster. So think of a return in the early days as productivity, product development, market penetration, market attraction and more. You have to think “if i spend £5000 now, will that get me to a position in 6 months time as if i’d spent £20,000?”
Negotiate everything you can, but pay your suppliers early. If you need help from them further down the line, then they’re more likely to help you out if you’ve been someone who is reliable when it comes to making payments.
Finally, I would say model everything. Make as many different cash flow scenarios as you can, and keep iterating them as ideas happen daily and strategies evolve. You want to know at any given moment how many months you have before the business has to stand on its own two feet. That’s your goal. That’s your focus. Never detract from it. If you’re focussed on that, then you’re keeping everyone safe and secure in the business.
If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?
Over the past few months, we have seen great strides being made by the government to better health and social care in the UK. The recently announced Health and Social Care Levy is just one example of how investment in this underfunded and under-resourced sector is finally underway, however the reality is that this still isn’t enough to make the changes that health and social care desperately needs to see.
Instead, it is our view that investment in innovative digital solutions that have the promise to revolutionise the NHS and social care sector is what needs to be prioritised. If I could ask for one change, it would be that the government take notice of these new innovators, and streamline their investments into digital and technological innovations that have the ability to drive impactful and meaningful change. This will benefit not only patients and help improve user and patient experience, but also make a notable impact for those hard-working individuals who work within the sector.
What is your attitude towards your competitors?
At Lilli, we have truly understood what the problem is we are trying to solve, and by focusing on that, we have been able to create the technology that is going to help – something that a lot of our competitors haven’t quite done yet. They are still using reactive models and are less driven by the long-term beneficial outcomes for the practitioners in social and healthcare and their service-users and their families, with many of the solutions in the market are more focused on symptomatic solutions that provide alerts or data after the fact. For us, we see innovators taking bold new approaches in the sector as a positive thing as this will bring about lasting change and we think that bringing proactive solutions to the market will be the future in real preventative health and social care.
Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?
This is a very exhilarating time for Lilli, with many positive things happening. We’ve on-boarded new clients and we are very proud to have become an approved supplier to Her Majesty’s Government. That’s fitting testimony to the team at Lilli and our product, considering we haven’t been established for long. On top of this, we have been granted our first patent which further highlights our credentials and shows our desire to take our product further.
We are also going to be in an execution phase in 2022 where we will be looking to extend our offering to more housing associations and homecare agencies. We plan to branch out to those in areas where there may be a deficit in care provision. By deploying our solution so that vulnerable people can live in their own homes, we can help prevent them having to be placed into a care home and live at home for longer.
We’re also going to be expanding further into Europe, particularly in places where there isn’t technology like Lilli’s on hand to help. Beyond that we are discussing plans to also launch in the United States as we look to see where broadening Lilli’s reach has the opportunity to support more vulnerable people.