Leeds healthtech startup receives £450k for healthy lifestyle app

A Leeds-based healthtech startup has received £450k to further develop its healthy lifestyle app.

Caterpillar, headquartered at incubator, BUILD, has received the funding from investors including venture capitalist, Jenson Funding Partners. The company 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 draws on behavioural science, the academic study of human behaviour change. The app 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.

Paul Baverstock, CEO and founder, Caterpillar, 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.”

The app has a network of expert backers from a variety of disciplines, including two-time Olympic gold medallist and public health advocate, Alistair Brownlee.

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.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: “With no less than seven world-leading universities, a brilliant teaching hospital, a deep and broad talent pool, and a supportive business community, Leeds City Region is an ideal place for health tech entrepreneurs like Paul Baverstock and the Caterpillar team to grow their business.”

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