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26 April, 2012 - 11:54 By Tony Quested

F1 boss backs health portal’s £1m Series A

Gerard Lopez

Technology VC and motor sport entrepreneur Gerard Lopez has become a major new backer of Cambridge Healthcare Ltd and its health information portal, howareyou.com.

His fund Mangrove Capital Partners, which specialises in technology investments, is lead investor in a £1 million Series A round, Business Weekly can exclusively reveal.

Lopez, who is also chairman of the Lotus Formula One motor racing team and founder of another VC fund, Genii Capital, has additionally agreed to join the CHL board – adding crucial kudos to the cash.

An Asian VC fund headquartered in Malaysia and with operations in Singapore, has co-invested. CHL had been kickstarted by angel funding and this is its first serious foray into VC.

CEO Dawson King said the new investment was “a fantastic endorsement for the company. It’s really special to have the backing of someone as dynamic and influential as Gerard Lopez.”

He said the funding and global connections would accelerate significant international growth for CHL as it sought to revolutionise patient care.

Mangrove and Lopez have a track record in picking winners in their infancy. Mangrove was the very first to invest in Skype in the early days and received a handsome return on investment which, in turn, helped the fund scale up its activities.

Lopez has been in regular contact with King during the period of negotiation for new money. In a statement from CHL endorsed by Lopez, the entrepreneur said he was “especially enthusiastic about the prospects for www.howareyou.com” and believed the timing and availability of well developed web based systems was “absolutely right” – both for the deliverers of healthcare and patients worldwide.

He believes CHL is in pole to drive more patient engagement and better delivery of healthcare services at a time when personalised medicine and technological advances will revolutionise the sector.

www.howareyou.com is iPhone-enabled and designed to become a rich store of applications for patients and practitioners. In essence it will become the social network of healthcare, King believes.

An exclusive agreement with Microsoft Health Vault will give Cambridge Healthcare Ltd privileged access to the Microsoft apps store. www.howareyou.com is expected to become the front end of this important Microsoft development and further announcements will be made soon.

King said the company was also set to replicate its UK model across the planet: “We’re in talks with potential partners in New Zealand, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong and China,” he said.

Such has been the level of interest in China, which is investing heavily in health reform, – that Cambridge Healthcare recently appointed Bo Zhou – a graduate engineer with a Masters Degree in Management Analytics from University College Dublin.

His father is a senior executive with Development Bank of China and Bo is developing a plan for Chinese and greater Asian market entry for www.howareyou.com

CHL director Professor Alan Barrell, who has extensive connections in China, is championing an early entry for the business in what is potentially the largest market in the world.

Professor Barrell, said: “A business model for www.howareyou.com in China as a Chinese company supported by the government, could be a timely and successful way of making rapid progress in this market of 1.4 billion people.”

Dawson King added: “www.howareyou.com puts information and power into the hands of patients – all securely encrypted. It enables the patient to develop and implement assisted self-care plans and share much more completely in decision making about treatment, diet, external advice and sources of information.

“They will also be able to share information with peers, family friends and others as appropriate. One of the key messages in all reports recently distributed by the NHS is the powerful assertion – ‘No decision about me without me’. www.howareyou.com provides a practical means to turn rhetoric into reality.”

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