Leeds company receives £450K investment for healthy lifestyle app

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A Leeds company has received £450k from investors, including Jenson Funding Parners, to develop its healthy lifestyle app. The app draws on behavioural science, the academic study of human behaviour change.

Caterpillar, a BUILD startup incubator, 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.
with popular loyalty points.

BUILD was set up in collaboration between Leeds City Council and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and supports early-stage purpose-led businesses with a 12-week entrepreneurship and networking programme.

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.

“This funding enables us to enrich our app, add engaging new features and capabilities, and is a key step towards us achieving our goal of helping millions of people live healthier lives.”

The app has a network of expert backers from a variety of disciplines; from public health to preventative care to behavioural science. This includes the two-time Olympic gold medallist and public health advocate Alistair Brownlee.

Jeffrey Faustin, chief investment officer at Jenson Funding Partners, said: “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 the first company from BUILD, the Leeds startup incubator, to receive funding. BUILD was set up in collaboration between Leeds City Council and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and supports early-stage purpose-led businesses with a 12-week entrepreneurship and networking programme.

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “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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