Dragons' Den investment spurs innovation in dementia-friendly finance

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Dementia financial app Alzheimer Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's Society

Jayne Sibley, the mastermind behind Sibstar, a debit card and mobile app aimed at those with dementia has secured a substantial £125K investment from BBC Dragons’ Den investors Sara Davies and Deborah Meaden.

This investment is poised to propel financial inclusion and equality for those navigating the challenges of dementia.

It is geared towards assisting individuals living with dementia in managing their everyday finances,

Hailing from Southampton, Jayne thought about the idea for Sibstar while caring for her parents, both grappling with dementia.

Her appearance on the show on 29th February, accompanied by her life and business partner, Martin Orton, captivated the attention of both Sara and Deborah, who were intrigued by the innovative solution Jayne offered to a common struggle faced by numerous families affected by dementia. Notably, the Dragons were impressed by Sibstar's track record of success since its launch in March 2023, despite Jayne's lack of prior experience in financial services.

People with dementia - financial barriers

Sibstar's journey is further bolstered by the backing of Alzheimer's Society, through its Accelerator Programme, which champions technological innovations benefitting those living with dementia. Moreover, the company has partnered with Mastercard to ensure the provision of a reliable, industry-leading service.

Rich Oakley, associate director of research and innovation, at Alzheimer’s Society says: “Too many people living with dementia face barriers in using financial services, leaving them with less control of their own money and vulnerable to scams. Alzheimer’s Society is dedicated to making the financial sector more dementia-friendly, as well as raising awareness of the challenges involved. This is why we chose to support Sibstar as part of our innovation programme, to help develop a game-changing app and debit card to give people living with dementia financial security and more control of their money.”

For Jayne, the Dragons’ Den experience was an emotional journey, requiring her to recount the personal challenges she faced while caring for her parents. However, the unwavering support and empathy of the Dragons affirmed her mission.

Jayne expressed her gratitude for securing investment from Sara and Deborah, noting their status as two of the nation's most accomplished female entrepreneurs. She highlighted the potential of their partnership to enhance accessibility to financial services for marginalized groups in society.

Impressive financial services product

Deborah Meaden praised Jayne's ingenuity in translating personal experiences into a transformative product with the potential to change lives. She expressed eagerness to contribute to Sibstar's journey, recognizing its profound impact on individuals affected by dementia.

She said:​ “Jayne’s idea is so simple but has the ability to transform lives. I was impressed by how she’d taken her own lived experience and channelled it into making an impressive financial services product that’s already secured a foothold in a sector in which it's notoriously difficult to achieve cut-through. I’m looking forward to being involved in the next stage of Sibstar’s exciting journey. Sibstar is the best kind of investment, one that has an important reason to be and makes a big difference to people’s lives.”

Echoing Deborah's sentiments, Sara Davies emphasized the growing importance of addressing the needs of families impacted by dementia. She commended Jayne for tackling a common challenge faced by this demographic and pledged her support to extend financial independence to those living with dementia.

Sara added: "In the coming years, sadly, more and more families will be affected by dementia and the business community must gear up to serve a wider variety of needs. I think many families out there are going to be extremely grateful to Jayne for addressing a common challenge for people with dementia, and I’m excited to offer the benefit of my experience to help those affected live independently for longer.”

The UK's pioneering debit card and app

Sara and Deborah each offered £62.5K for a 5% share of the business, signalling their confidence in Sibstar's vision and potential. The investment is poised to fuel the next phase of Sibstar's evolution, driving innovation in dementia-friendly finance and empowering individuals to live independently with dignity and security.

Research conducted by Sibstar in 2020 revealed that nine out of ten individuals affected by dementia encounter difficulties in managing their finances daily, with nearly half citing financial concerns as a major source of stress. Sibstar emerges as the UK's pioneering debit card and app designed to assist people with dementia in accessing and managing their finances, facilitating independent living in a safe and supported manner.

The Sibstar debit card, pre-loaded with funds, is seamlessly integrated with the Sibstar app, available on iPhone and Android platforms. The app offers a comprehensive suite of money management controls, including spending limits, ATM restrictions, and real-time notifications, providing users with autonomy over their finances.

With nearly 1 million individuals living with dementia in the UK, and projections indicating a significant rise in this figure by 2040, the need for tailored financial solutions has never been greater. Sibstar addresses this pressing need, offering individuals living with dementia the autonomy and security to manage their finances independently, thereby enhancing their quality of life and well-being.

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