A Cheshire company offering independent evaluation of health and care-related apps has more than doubled in size in a year and set up a subsidiary in the Netherlands.
The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA), based within the Sci-Tech cluster at Daresbury, has received support from Enterprise Europe Network as part of Innovate UK’s business growth services.
Since EEN adviser Mike Skinner began working with the company through the innovate2succeed (i2s) programme last year, staff numbers have risen from a handful – just seven as recently December 2018 – to 33 currently.
The recruitment drive, informed by an i2s growth mapping exercise which pinpointed ORCHA’s innovation management needs, continues apace as ORCHA looks grow to 50 employees by the end of the year.
ORCHA has raised around £1 million from investors to accelerate its growth plans and began to turn a profit earlier this year.
App libraries and platforms for clinicians
The company generates revenue in several ways, mainly through app libraries on its website and professional platforms for clinicians. Its independent app reviews follow a seven-stage assessment process, clinically and academically validated. Results are presented in a searchable app database.
Its innovation is being increasingly recognised. A quarter of NHS trusts are already using its review tool to find apps that best meet patients’ needs.
With nearly 5,000 app reviews now carried out, revenue grew by 100% last year and is expected to double again during 2019-2020 to more than £1.5 million.
EEN also worked with the company on a commercialisation strategy. Mike said: “We tried to help them market more effectively, promoting the value and importance of the product to customers, rather than how it worked.”
Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO and co-founder with Tim Andrews, the chief operations officer, said: “We got an awful lot from the i2s programme. Nothing was too much for Mike and his team – he quickly understood our business, reviewed our investor pitch decks and knew who to introduce us to.”
Opportunity through key networking contact
The company has just opened a subsidiary in the Netherlands to serve the Dutch Association of Mental Health and Addiction Care (GGZ), its first move into markets outside of the UK and Ireland.
Liz added: “The opportunity in the Netherlands originated with an introduction by EEN to a key networking contact at an event in Bristol a couple of years ago.”
This year ORCHA has secured a contract with the NHS as an Approved Assessor, adding to its credibility with app developers as well as health and care professionals, employers and charities.
It also launched a new product, Digital Healthy Schools, involving 440 secondary schools.
Its platforms and services have recently been approved on the Government’s Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 11 framework. It means ORCHA’s services can be purchased by any central government department, local council, NHS Trust or public sector body.
I’d like us to be in another two other countries by the end of this year, if not three.”
Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO and co-founder.