Mercia Fund Management, one of the leading investors in UK technology and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC, has committed £300,000 of early stage development capital to Intelligent Health, a company dedicated to combatting inactivity through behavioural science and technology.
Mercia's capital will be used to continue scaling the business nationally and internationally, as well as building on the company's strong relationships with local government authorities and NHS clinical commissioning groups.
Formed in 2006 by Dr William Bird, a GP and advisor to the World Health Organisation, Intelligent Health encourages communities to adopt more active lifestyles through a combination of community-wide initiatives, personal fitness trackers, and key partners.
Since formation, Intelligent Health's services have been taken up successfully across England and Scotland, as well as in Europe and the US.
Included in Intelligent Health's core services is the community based activity challenge, 'Beat the Street', which creates a physical game within an entire town to engage the community in an interactive walking competition. The initiative has seen a great deal of success - in 2015 alone, 14 locations and 115,000 residents in England, Scotland, Italy and Poland have played the challenge. The technology turns a local area into a real life walking game through the use of RFID Smart Card Readers (or 'Beat Boxes') and RFID cards.
Only 20 minutes of moderate activity a day is recommended for adults (60 minutes for children) and yet one in four of us do not manage this. Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK a year, making it more of a serious health issue than smoking. It is also a prime cause of 23 long-term health conditions, including diabetes and cardio-vascular disease.
The cost of inactivity-related illnesses is staggering, with treatment for the side effects of type 2 diabetes alone costing the NHS £8bn a year.
To combat the costs of treating and managing such long-term illnesses, authorities are increasingly turning to technology influenced by behavioural science due to their cost effectiveness and proven success rate. The addressable market for Intelligent Health in the UK alone is believed to be valued at £500 million.
Peter Dines, Investment Director and Head of Life Sciences at Mercia, said:
"This is an area that Mercia has been seeking to get involved in for some time now and I am truly pleased to identify Intelligent Health as what we believe to be a leading early stage player in this field. The company represents an exciting opportunity to support a scientifically proven technology that is capable of tackling one of the most pressing global issues.
"Intelligent Health also benefits from a renowned clinical champion as its CEO, a strong management team and a good sales pipeline, which will allow it to expand both nationally and internationally, not to mention make a positive change to the lives of millions."
Dr William Bird, CEO of Intelligent Health, said:
"Intelligent Health is at an exciting stage in its development and I am delighted that Mercia Fund Management has come on board to support our growth. They have an unparalleled expertise in the advancement of pioneering businesses, understand our vision and can help us build active communities on a greater scale. We look forward to a dynamic, productive relationship."