How UP Ventures helped Healum on its investment journey

16th Apr 2021

Breaking into the UK health service is no easy task for a start-up, however for Jonathan Abraham and Anuj Saboo it was UP Ventures' GM Future of Health Challenge programme that provided the "connective tissue" that enabled their company Healum to gain investment and grow its footprint in the Greater Manchester area.

Healum was founded six years ago and offers Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered collaborative software for healthcare professionals to deliver personalised care plans and support for people with long-term conditions such as diabetes.

Patients use a mobile app to personalise their own treatment and work with their medical specialist to change their behaviours and improve their health.

Jonathan said: "We have always been driven by the fundamental belief that people have the right to personalise their healthcare and be able to monitor and understand all aspects of their health.

"We wanted them to be able to work with a healthcare professional to gain access to choices in the public and private sector and we wanted to create software that created personalised plans, educated and coached.”

"The programme helped connect elements of medicine, technology and finance together to help us progress as a company. That is a very hard thing to achieve and UP Ventures is the connective tissue that pulls it all together.”


Research and Development

From its inception,  Healum has been committed to investing time and resources into understanding how to improve both the health and quality of life of patients.

Jonathan and Anuj have strived to ensure that their  digital health products have improved workflow for Healum’s healthcare professional customers.

For a company that believes in data-driven healthcare one could argue that this is par for the course.
Developing an evidence base to demonstrate its benefits to the health system and to patients was key to Healum growing and developing its product and the team initially gained a foothold in Greater Manchester through the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Network after it worked with National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to set up its clinical research study.

This led to the company selecting Vernova CIC who are based in Eastern Cheshire as a partner to help deliver a gold standard randomised control trial in the region which was partly funded by Innovate UK. 

This led to the company taking part in the 12-week GM Future of Health Challenge, run by UP Ventures, in 2019.

As Healum gained more of an understanding of the needs of patient populations across Cheshire and Greater Manchester it was clear that there was the potential for their product to help plug gaps in clinical care.

Their Innovate UK project also enabled them to look at ways that AI could assist healthcare professionals with intelligent clinical insights at

the point of care that were sourced in an ethical way and which solved the issue of algorithmic bias.

Jonathan said: "We realised that healthcare professionals don’t always have the time to deliver personalised care and that AI had a role, but many healthcare professionals didn’t trust AI based solutions”

"Our Innovate UK project enabled us to scope out a system for training the AI based recommendations that crowdsources the wisdom of those healthcare professionals.”

The clinical research network and the data science expertise makes Greater Manchester an ideal place for the company to locate as it seeks to build on both its evidence programme and its R&D efforts in its AI system.

Jonathan Abraham and Anuj Saboo
Jonathan Abraham and Anuj Saboo


In March this year, the company was able to secure investment to expand its operations in the Greater Manchester region from Maven Capital Partners and Catapult Ventures on the back of the company's product development and research partnerships. This followed on from its Innovate UK grant funding as well as an earlier round of investment which have seen around £2m invested into the company.

Jonathan said UP Ventures played a connecting role in Healum’s investment journey.

He said: "Danny Meaney (UP Ventures founder) introduced us to a few regional investors.

"We spoke to Maven Capital Partners and Catapult Ventures who were interested that we already had a footprint in the region,  had come through the GM Future of Health Challenge and wanted to know how we would use the capital to prove the concept and scale the business.

"The programme helped connect elements of medicine, technology and finance together to help us progress as a company. That is a very hard thing to achieve and UP Ventures is the connective tissue that pulls it all together.

"Without the GM Future of Health Challenge we wouldn't have been able to take the research partnership that we had, take the tech funding from Innovate UK and then get further venture funding to deploy commercially."

Future of Health 

The GM Future of Health programme, which took place at MediaCityUK and was supported by Novartis, Push Doctor, Google, Salford Royal

NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Digital, Health Innovation Manchester and Apadmi.

The programme, designed by UP Ventures Managing Partner Steven Thomas, took the cohort of 12 leading health-tech businesses through a challenging range of technology and business development workshops and masterclasses. The group were coached and collaborated on topics including ‘creating meaningful customer experiences’, ‘building tech for scale’, and ‘financial modelling for growth’. A selection of leading industry experts and mentors also worked closely with the cohort to maximise learning, participation and practical application for each business into the Greater Manchester health network

Jonathan said the programme's learnings were key in Healum gaining its latest round of investment.

He said: "If we hadn't learned how to tell our story properly then we wouldn't have got the recent investment that we did.

"We were able to explain why each step on our journey mattered - from our initial research partnership with NIHR to our machine learning ambitions and subsequent investment from Innovate UK.

"Through the course we were able to build research and investment contacts, gain an understanding of how healthcare in the region worked, build an evidence basis for our product and improve our pitching to investors and customers."

Energised by its recent investment, Jonathan said that Healum would now be focusing on future growth.

He said: "Following the investment, we are now putting together a board and will focus on doubling revenue, protecting our intellectual property and developing more data partnerships.

"We will also be looking to build engagement with our product to prove how effectively it works.

"If we are in a position next year to go for larger funding then we will do that."
If you are an organisation looking to develop sector-specific innovation programmes, an investor looking for healthcare or technology companies to consider for investment or a start-up which is interested in our upcoming projects then please contact UP Ventures Managing Partner  Steven Thomas.

Think. Inspire. Do.
Grappling with an innovation challenge, interested in our future programmes or just want some good ol' fashioned inspiration?
Get in touch
Sign up for our newsletter
©Copyright 2023 UP | All Rights Reserved