Shaper: Adam Pike

Show aired on 9th June 2018

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Good morning this is Jazz Shapers, I’m Elliot Moss. Thank you so much for joining me here on Jazz FM. Jazz Shapers is the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul and right alongside them we bring someone in who is shaping the world of business, doing fabulous things and things that we all think ‘Wow I wish I could do that’. My Business Shaper and that’s what we call them today is Adam Pike and Adam is the Co-founder and CEO at SuperCarers, a brilliantly clever idea which puts carers in touch directly with those people that need it. Not just carers, super carers. I love that name. Hello.

Adam Pike
Hi there.

Elliot Moss
How are you?

Adam Pike
Excellent. How about you?

Elliot Moss
I am very good thank you. Thank you for coming in. Tell me about SuperCarers Adam, we are going to start at the end and work backwards. Where did the idea come from and what is it exactly?

Adam Pike
No problem, so the idea very simply is to help families to find carers who live in their local area and to match them together and by doing so, help families to save money because they are not using intermediaries and for carers to get far better paid because they earn the majority of what their client is paying and our platform is a very simple way that makes the administration of that relationship far, far easier and the reason why we set it up was because 10/15 years ago our grandmother needed care and she had early onset dementia, was living alone in a bungalow in St Albans and unfortunately the quality of care was very, very poor and the second time she flooded her home my mum felt like she had no choice but to look at residential care homes and as a consequence of that my grandma felt very frustrated and bitter about having to go into a care home because it is very impersonal, very clinical and not a nice environment and again it had a bit impact on our family and our circumstances and so for my brother and I the vision for SuperCarers is to help older people lead fulfilling lives at home because that’s where most of us want to live.

Elliot Moss
Now you set this business up back in 2015 I believe?

Adam Pike
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
And you may not want to answer this but I hope you do, in terms of numbers of people that have used the service, is it, is it significant or is it growing? And there is a distinction between the two.

Adam Pike
Well significant and growing.

Elliot Moss
Good.

Adam Pike
I think the challenge for us is that we are something that is new. In many ways we are formalising what is the preferred informal relationship. You know, someone might have their friend who needs care and Doris down the road is a carer but often most people don’t do any background checks, identity checks, right to work checks, make sure people have go the right training and qualifications and our platform does all of that and so traditionally people might go and talk to friends who might use traditional domiciliary care agency and so as a consequence they get very good word of mouth but for us as a challenger business, as a new business, our hard challenge is to grow our user base with something that’s new and unknown to many people.

Elliot Moss
Now the insight I get which is that it is very personal, your grandma wasn’t well, your mum probably still feels guilty to this day about that decision…

Adam Pike
Correct.

Elliot Moss
…that was made and so on and so forth but that put aside doesn’t give you any authority if you like to go and set up a business in the care world. So where did that confidence and the know how come from? Where have you managed…

Adam Pike
It is interesting because I talked about the family experience but also I was a policy advisor in the Cabinet Office and Treasury and one of the areas that we worked on was aging well and I was there for a while and I felt that Government tends to think in three year political cycles and not in generational terms and really when you look at the care system it is well and truly broken, it’s been broken for many, many years and when I was there we were designing policy that ended up in the drawer. There have been so many commissions and green papers where nothing has happened and so the impetus for me was based on that personal experience but also based on seeing that Government of all parties were not getting their hands around the problem my brother and I felt compelled to do it and I suppose what led us to that point was getting on board some fantastic investors who believed in that vision and supported us and over time we built the support around us that had a domain expertise around care to make sure that we learnt and learnt very quickly.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my innovative Shaper, Adam Pike, Co-founder and CEO at SuperCarers and they are bringing the world of policy and I suppose commercial, the commercial side of it together. Time for some more music right now, this is Moonchild with Be Free.

That was Moonchild with Be Free. Adam Pike is my Business Shaper today, we are talking about his business called SuperCarers which he set up with his brother back in 2015. And your background there, you touched on it, it was a policy role in the Cabinet Office as you said. You also worked at Deloitte I believe?

Adam Pike
Yep, correct.

Elliot Moss
And what else have you done Adam?

Adam Pike
So when I left Manchester University in 2008 I was the President of the National Union of Jewish Students and at the time in 2008 it was an interesting time and the fundraising climate was challenging, we were a charity and the political climate was also challenging. We are seeing many of that rear its ugly head again with sort of antisemitism in different parts of various parties so for two years I was the elected head of the movement, the student movement where I worked very closely with national students and others and it was really around furthering the educational aims of the Union, helping people to get the right support on campus and we support about fourteen thousand students across thirty six campuses so I spent most of my weekends travelling to Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge, really, really fortunate that at the same time living out of a suitcase.

Elliot Moss
Mmm. All of that, I mean sounds like you are, you enjoy advocacy, you enjoy lobbying, you enjoy helping people, you enjoy education. Have you, I mean it is obviously important to you and you touched on the policy piece there for the business you are doing now, are you really, I mean are you really a commercial guy or are you really a policy guy who loves that side of it because it sounds like you want to make big chances still?

Adam Pike
Yeah. Again absolutely. I think when you think about our ambition or I show you our ambition, it is to become the UKs most loved care business. Now on the one hand that doesn’t sound excessively commercial because it’s got no numbers associated with it but the reason why I talk about love is because when people associate care with a word, it very rarely is love. We see lots of documentaries and challenges around either the way that carers are treated or that in certain circumstances how patients are treated and so for us if we can think about the user, the elderly client, the carer, how can we make them feel like they are enjoying a meaningful experience and so for me I am not a policy or commercial guy, I suppose for me it is more about the quality of experience, the quality of care and for us if you make the pay and the support transformative for the carer, the quality of care will also improve for the client and I could share with you some statistics on the market at the moment – hopefully won’t bore listeners too much – but it just shares the kind of context and the challenge that we are operating under.

Elliot Moss
We will come to the numbers but the question I guess, the connective question is that politics, is that something you thought ‘you know what, I am just going to do that’?

Adam Pike
I don’t have much interest in it because I have been in that environment and I think I would find it very frustrating. Today I can make decisions with our business that has a direct impact on peoples’ lives and I think it was Peter Hyman who was a strategist at Number 10 for many years who said that on his first day as a teacher he had more impact than designing educational policy in Number 10 and I think for me, I can draw some kind of parallels with what he said. Not that I was in the same level of responsibility or seniority that he was but again if you think to yourself what I did there, did I have a direct impact on peoples’ lives whilst typing on a computer screen and giving a Minister yet another paper, the answer is absolutely not.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my Business Shaper today, that’s Adam Pike, Co-founder and CEO and someone who is making a direct impact, having a direct impact on people’s lives and as he said, that might not be so easy on a computer around the Number 10 environment. In addition to hearing from Adam, in a few minutes you will also be hearing from our programme partners, they are going to give you some words of advice for your business and those are from Mishcon de Reya.

This is Jazz Shapers here in Jazz FM with me, Elliot Moss. Every Saturday I get to talk to someone who is shaping the world of business. If you have missed any then your destination is iTunes put in the words ‘Jazz’ and ‘Shapers’ and you can find a whole host of people there. If you have Alexa you can enable Alexa and you can say… you can ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers which is also very natty I think. Or you can just stay with me here right now because right now I have got Adam Pike and he is the Co-founder and CEO at SuperCarers and he is talking to me about the ability of running a business, within running a business to have a direct impact and actually make stuff happen. Where you are now is you’ve raised a bunch of money. In a few years and you’ve raised about six million pounds which sounds like a hell of a lot of money to me. What are the kinds of people that have invested in you like and why have you chosen them as much as why have they chosen you?

Adam Pike
Correct. So we look for people that are commercial and want to see the business succeed and grow but also people that have a sense of our social mission. So we look at three things in terms of our social impact, one is how do we improve the wellbeing of older people, second is how do we improve the mental health of their families because many people are at their most stressed and anxious when they think about care for a loved one and finally and perhaps more importantly is how do we transform the livelihoods of carers and so many of our investors are both pure play commercial strategic investors, others have a blend of social and commercial investment principals. Our early backers were Richard, John and Adam who were the Founders at Innocent Smoothie through their JamJar Investment fund who have backed businesses like Deliveroo, Graze, Babylon etcetera and others that come from sort of the health and social care world who have supported us and it means that we can use that money to learn, to develop, to grow and we were originally two guys in our kind of underpants in Watford trying to grow a business and now we are forty people in an office in Old Street because that turns out to be the only place where you can hire brilliant developers and product managers but yeah, we’ve come quite far in a short space of time but we’ve got a long, long way to go.

Elliot Moss
The various things that you’ve done along the way and you’ve touched on the Uni students and that leadership role, the Deloitte role, the policy role. Are you at your happiest now do you think Adam? I know you are only a young guy still but is this… does it feel right you are running your own shop?

Adam Pike
It has its stresses. Again I was unable to get a mortgage about three months ago because I spent ten years not ever having enough income or proof of history that meant that I could actually do that which certainly wasn’t ideal when I had… when we had out, Meryl and I had our son Zachery about eighteen months ago and we were in a one bedroom flat in Finchley. That didn’t make me very popular but again it is a place now where I am happy in terms of both professional and personal. It is always challenging, it always challenges my resilience and my ability to bounce back and be positive but again I think you have to take that if you want to be the master of your own destiny.

Elliot Moss
And that point about master of your own destiny and the freedom. Do you think you’ve always craved that freedom? Do you think you actually, was this sort of an unmet need as it were?

Adam Pike
I would, I would really, really feel very, very, very sorry for anyone who has to manage me in the future so I hope I can make this successful because I am not very good I don’t think at being subordinate to someone. But I wouldn’t rule that out, there’s lots of interesting organisations that I would love to work for but after I’ve made this a success first.

Elliot Moss
The other organisation which I think you Co-founded as well which is Beyond Me. Just tell me a little bit about that?

Adam Pike
So when I left UJS, myself and my friend Michael Harris had both had backgrounds in youth work and charity work and when we joined Deloitte and PWC respectively we were very conscious that a lot of our friends who join on graduate programmes said Deloitte recruits a thousand people a year, PWC does the same thing. We are very bright passionate people but we end up doing spreadsheets for big banks in lockers and our time and our talent is a bit wasted. So Beyond Me is a giving and volunteering platform that supports professionals between 21 years old and 35 years old to give their money and their time and their skills to charitable causes and so on the supply side we have fantastic projects from charities that are really unique and disruptive being proposed and we have teams of seven professionals who get together in a business like Deloitte or PWC and give that time, money and skill to that cause and we have had some amazing, amazing, amazing things of impact. We have done hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash and donated millions of pounds worth of time donated and lots of things we are very proud of from refurbishing a Centrepoint Youth Hostel to supporting CanDo Coffee in opening up, new baristers, to helping ex-offenders get back into work. A whole host of things that we are very proud of and again that’s challenging because we have been able to grow into a self-sustaining enterprise but the big challenge is then how do you kick it on and how do you grow and I am very close to no longer being a millennial and being too old for the movement so at some point I must move on.

Elliot Moss
Don’t move on just yet. You are still a millennial, hang on, hang on in there Adam. Adam Pike is my Business Shaper, Co-founder and CEO at SuperCarers and also the Co-founder at Beyond Me. It still strikes me and I know you pushed back and you said ‘no I don’t want to do politics and I don’t want to do that’. There is something in you Adam and we’ve met outside of this, in fact it was on a charity mission way back in 2012 to the Ukraine. You have been a trustee of World Jewish Relief. You are involved in doing good things, where does that desire come from? Is that a familial thing? I mean why, because lots of people, successful, intelligent, they are interested but they don’t’ get on and do it. You’ve done stuff why do you think that is?

Adam Pike
Well you are breaking the golden rule which is telling people so I sound like I am a wonderful do gooder. I think there is nothing special or unique about me in any way, I guess the bit that motivates me is that when I think about my upbringing and the way that my parents were in their community and the support they gave, I think it’s a very, very important thing to do. It gives life meaning, it makes it purposeful and enriching and if I hadn’t got involved I wouldn’t have met you, I wouldn’t have met loads of other people so I get a lot of personal joy and pleasure out of it but I suppose going back to my personal, my Jewish values, I think that all too often faith can be too introvert and not think about the world around them and I believe very passionately that Jewish people have an obligation to be active in the world and to look outwards. That is our obligation and we don’t always do it as well as we could and so that’s why World Jewish Relief for me was really important. Some of the work they do at the moment is just incredible like supporting Syrian refugees in the North of England to settle and find work in the UK. They don’t shout about it because they are a wonderfully modest organisation but when you look at their impact and what they are delivering on the ground for people it is just extraordinary and so if I play a very small part in that hopefully I don’t take any credit because it belongs to the professionals that do the work. And so yeah, that’s why.

Elliot Moss
And those values, do you take them into business? Whatever those values are, being generous I imagine, being kind, simple things which transcend any great religions right?

Adam Pike
Well as my wife will tell you I am far from being perfect. I guess the thing that matters to me is we have a very multi-cultural team. We have a lot of different faiths, a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different ethnicities and people’s careers will be long and so for me I do feel that I am the chief executive, I also happen to be Jewish and I want people to know that I am a Jewish CEO and that influences the way that I am, the way that I behave, the way that I treat people. So in life when they go on to work with hundreds and thousands of people across all of them, that the experience they had working with me and my brother is something that is special. Again they will find that from other people of all other faiths but just for me that is really, really important. It doesn’t mean to say that I go soft on people. We have got a lot to deliver and we have got to hit our numbers and we’ve got to succeed otherwise we can’t continue to do the work we do. So I haven’t got a soft underbelly but if you work hard, if you are dedicated and you have a good time for me, that’s a really important thing.

Elliot Moss
And how would they describe you? If you weren’t in the room, what would they say about Adam?

Adam Pike
I dread to think.

Elliot Moss
You can make a guess?

Adam Pike
They will probably say hypocrite, liar – no I am joking. I don’t know, I have a lot of things about what I hope they would say.

Elliot Moss
What would you hope they would say?

Adam Pike
I hope they would say that I am driven, determined, focusses and get the best out of people.

Elliot Moss
You’ve done lots of stuff already in terms of you’ve laid out your, you know, what you want it to achieve and you are now obviously into execution. What are the challenges in the next few years that you think you are going to have to bash to one side? I mean the context politically is not fair at the moment and I don’t mean that in as it’s unfair but it’s not looking rosy.

Adam Pike
It’s not looking rosy, no.

Elliot Moss
It’s difficult and people’s focus is on other things and mainly obviously Brexit and all the things that go with that. So how do you make sure that what you need to happen can happen?

Adam Pike
Yep. The way I think about it is that care is the most wonderful profession. Everyone talks about robotics and artificial intelligence which is fine and great but the impact of those things on industry and that people are going to lose their jobs and the only, well one of very few roles that will always need humanity is care. So I am very, very positive about its opportunities, its potential which is one of the reasons why we want to make care a really viable and meaningful profession or increasingly meaningful and viable profession where the industry keeps its best people because we want to attract people from other industries to join and so when I think about the challenges, there are six hundred thousand too few carers in this country by 2025 and our role is to reduce that deficit by attracting people into the profession, helping families to find them and as a consequence help more and more people who are getting older to live independently and when I think about the experience of families, 1.9 million people today have a health need who are elderly, that’s increasing to 4 million. Dementia as a condition is growing rapidly and so we have a real duty to make sure that we care well for our older generation because right now thinking about the future and aging myself, if things don’t change it really is quite terrifying.

Elliot Moss
So how do you not get overwhelmed by that because it does sound terrifying?

Adam Pike
Gin and tonic on a Friday afternoon is probably a good start. No I think look, if we could all incrementally improve every day just a little bit, I think that the difference will be significant. So I don’t think that we need to do anything, I mean everyone looks for ideas that change the world, that are transformative but for me the most interesting innovations and innovators are things that are everyday things that make a very small, insubstantial difference but when aggregated is much more impactful and significant.

Elliot Moss
And thinking about those everyday things and Tim Hartford the Economist is with you on that, he thinks exactly the same, he thinks it is the small things that make the big differences. What are, just give me an example of one small thing that is going to impact the quality of the carers because if there is a deficit coming down the line, the cohort of carers now out there, are all of them of the quality you want them to be?

Adam Pike
I think the biggest challenge in care right now is the Government introduced something called the Care Certificate. The Care Certificate is trained by Home Care Agencies and Residential Care Home operators. The challenge is that it is not portable. So if I am a carer and I work with agency 1 and I go to agency 2, I can’t often take my certificate to agency 2 which means I must re-train according to Agency 2’s standards even though the Care Certificate has fifteen standards. So the vision that we have for SuperCarers is creating an industry standard, a certificate that is portable and a profile that is like a currency that carers can ascend. So at the moment often carers are very generic, role title. How can carers become SuperCarers and how can their level of pay grow depending on their levels of skills and qualities and supports as a proper professional development pathway for them. Right now that doesn’t exist and that is what we are trying to pioneer.

Elliot Moss
And if you pioneer that and you create it, do people have to… is there a Government body that has to give that a tick or can you just get on with it?

Adam Pike
We are getting on with it but we are obviously talking to and working with a lot of you know, third sector and Government entities because again for me it is about building an alliance around those things. We can’t do it alone but often if you are wanting to create disruption you often have to make sure the train leaves the station, if people want to jump on board they’ve got to hurry up, run and catch up rather than as many people prefer, keeping the train in the station and arguing about the signals. I would much rather get on with it and take people along with us as we go.

Elliot Moss
Adam good luck getting on with it and I hope those people do run and catch on to the train because it sound like it’s an industry that needs dramatic disruption for all our sakes and as you said, there is a massive population growth for older people and this is a real thing and we need to get on with it and you are hopefully going to do that. No pressure.

Adam Pike
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
It is all down to you. Just before I let you go and it has been a real pleasure talking to you, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Adam Pike
It’s Strangers On The Shore by Acker Bilk as it is my grandfather’s favourite song and one of the reasons for taking up the clarinet was so I could play it for him at his 70th birthday.

Elliot Moss
Excellent, it’s a nice reason and here it is just for you.

That was Stranger On The Shore from Acker Bilk, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Adam Pike. Someone who wants to have a direct impact on people’s lives rather than sitting behind a computer. Someone who believes in being a disrupter and finally not just being a disrupter but someone who understand that disruption comes through doing little, every day things in a slightly different way. A really interesting take on innovation and disruption. Do join me again, same time, same place, that’s next Saturday, 9.00am sharp here on Jazz FM for another edition of Jazz Shapers.

Adam Pike

Prior to co-founding SuperCarers, Adam was a Management Consultant at Deloitte during which he acted as Policy Advisor to the Cabinet Office in Westminster. He then co-founded and became CEO of BeyondMe, a company that promotes generosity in leadership before taking the position of Advisor & Strategy Development at Cimagine, a company that provides retailers with a markerless augmented reality platform that enables consumers to visualise products in life-like 3D.

Adam founded SuperCarers with his brother after watching their mother struggle to cope with managing their grandma’s care. SuperCarers puts carers in touch directly with those people that need it, and they are on a mission to revolutionise how care is managed in the UK.

Follow Adam on Twitter @adampike.

“The vision for SuperCarers is to help older people lead fulfilling lives at home.”

“Our ambition is to become to UKs most loved care business.”

“You have to take the challenging times if you want to be the master of your own destiny.”

“Supporting your community gives life meaning, it makes it purposeful and enriching.”

“I believe passionately that Jewish people have an obligation to be active in the world and to look outwards.”

“The thing that matters to me is we have a very multi-cultural team.”

“If you work hard, if you are dedicated and you have a good time, for me that’s a really important thing.”

“I am positive about care’s opportunities. One of the very few roles that will always need humanity is care.”

“If we could all incrementally improve every day just a little bit, I think that the difference will be significant.”

“The most interesting innovations and innovators are everyday things that make a very small, insubstantial difference but when aggregated are much more impactful and significant.”