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27 June, 2022 - 09:38 By Tony Quested

Perks, cash and an eye on the US for digital health doyen Boutros Bear

Cambridge digital health startup Boutros Bear is on the cusp of taking a new funding round to £1.95 million and has its eyes on expansion into the US.

The company has already raised more than £1.5m in pre-seed and seed capital from various Cambridge angels, members of Cambridge Capital Group and early EIS backers. Notable investors include Jonathan Milner’s Meltwind, SyndicateRoom and Amadeus Capital Partners.

The seed round was closed at the end of May and has a 90 days continuation time. Boutros Bear is in discussions with various UK and overseas investors and hope to close a maximum additional £450k of funding to take the haul to £1.95m.

As part of its ongoing growth blueprint, the company – which helps people navigate chronic illness – is now preparing for UK and Ireland scale-up and its services will be available to employers via their employee benefits and insurance companies providers. 

The company will also continue to offer services to UK-based companies that have staff in the US.

In 2023 Boutros Bear will be seeking Series A investment from VC and healthcare providers which will enable US expansion in due course.

In a further boost to the thrusting young business, sector heavyweight Barnaby Perks has joined the board as chair.

As previously reported here, founder and CEO Sheila Kissane and husband Robert Marshall, executive chair of Martlet Capital, are steering the global rollout.

Kissane told Business Weekly: “We will be brokered by a number of wellbeing and benefits providers from next month.”

Boutros Bear is an evidenced-based B2B hybrid digital health company specialising in chronic illness rehabilitation programmes for employees. Its first courses are in cancer and chronic pain rehabilitation. 

The programme will include weekly coaching by a level 4 cancer care coach or a physiotherapist, with a personalised weekly movement plan.

Dietary, wellbeing and exercise regimes, including mindfulness sessions and yoga classes, will also be customised for clients and the company will maximise online technology to deliver key offerings.

Boutros Bear is in early stage discussions with an Irish-based research university to apply for joint funding for a Randomised Control Trial to demonstrate patient improvements in the areas of Quality of Life, reduced stress and anxiety & depression; and reduced risk of recurrence by the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

Early surveys that have captured relevant data from a small control group have demonstrated significant reductions in depression, stress and anxiety over an initial 12-week period. This has led in many cases to an acceleration of a return to work.

The company also offers online learning modules for employers to enable their teams to understand how to provide the appropriate levels of support and make reasonable adjustments to their working lives. Kissane says this has the additional benefit of providing an employer with a greater understanding of their legal requirements.

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