Since launching in 2016, U.K. home care startup Cera Care, which pairs patients with in-home caregivers, has locked in more than $4 million in venture funding and garnered widespread praise.
But now, it’s being accused of crafting fake reviews online and lying about key health partnerships, Bloomberg Technology reported Thursday.
Citing “three people with knowledge of the matter,” up to a dozen of Cera Care’s reviews on third-party websites were written by the startup’s own employees or people close to them, according to Bloomberg Technology. In addition to the allegedly fraudulent reviews, Cera Care was also misleading about working with 10 notable public health groups in London, including St. Barts.
“We note that our website was not fully up to date with these materials and are rectifying it,” Cera Care said in an email to Bloomberg Technology.
Since the report, Cera Care’s website has since been updated to show that it only works with three public health groups: Lambeth CCG, Tower Hamlets CCG and Enfield CCG.
Similar to U.K.-based Cera Care, several home care startups in the United States have raised tens of millions of dollars promising to leverage technology advances to disrupt an industry that many experts still see as person-centered. So far, their success has been mixed at best.
San Francisco-based Honor, for example, has raised more than $60 million in the past few years. Other startups, including Hometeam—whose CEO announced that he would soon be stepping down earlier this month—have also raised millions in early-stage funding.
Then there’s HomeHero, a startup that announced in February that it was ceasing its home care operations after just a few years in business—despite having raised $23 million in venture capital.
News about Cera Care was not the only negative home care press coming out of the U.K. this week. On Monday, Allied Healthcare—one of the largest U.K. home care providers—filed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in effort to restructure its financial obligations while remaining operational.
Written by Robert Holly