Our background - before 2018

Our story

The founders, Mark Hawkins and Matt Denman, have been in financial services since 1998. Their previous business, HD Decisions, changed the credit card and personal loan market in the UK - by making it much easier for consumers to understand which lender would accept them, before they applied for credit. HD is now owned by Experian and continues to grow in that market.

A key part of HD's success was securing the trust of the banks to share valuable and precious data and IP.

They have a new venture, called Podium, which is helping consumers find the right mortgage online - a joint venture with MoneySupermarket.


2018 - Exploring healthcare

At the start of 2018 we knew very little about healthcare...

Our background was financial services not healthcare. So we spent 2018 meeting a wide range of professionals from the healthcare sector, trying to learn how it works as well as what is good, bad and could be better.

After over 75 conversations and interviews we felt encouraged enough that we could make a positive difference, that we decided to create Factor 50. In particular, we wanted to use data, analytics and digital to enable everyone in the UK to manage their own health.

In order to be transparent, here are our thinking and our conclusions - they fall into the following three buckets

Worrying observations

Taking blood pressue

UK healthcare facing unprecedented demand

  • The NHS is increasingly stretched

  • The population is living longer – creating a larger percentage of our society over the age of 60 and living with multiple morbidities

  • Whilst smoking stats are improving, there remain some massive societal drivers of poor health; smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, obesity, alcohol and drug use

  • Health inequality in the UK is very real – with a 7 year difference in life expectancy and a 17 year difference in healthy life expectancy from richest to poorest

  • The UK healthcare system remains heavily siloed

  • There is lots of data being produced – but it isn’t easily shared or accessed, neither is it analysed and turned into actionable insight

  • The vast majority of spend (96%) is on people when they are already unwell.

Positive trends

Doctors Looking at X- Rays

There are encouraging factors

  • There is increasingly the potential for personalised healthcare – created by medical advancement in matching suitable treatments to patients, and the reduced cost of genetic profiling

  • Personalised healthcare is also being realised through the increased ambition of allowing the patient to determine their own best pathway

  • In the UK the pendulum is swinging towards more joined up decision making and coordination, through the move towards Integrated Care Systems

  • The Health Economics case of many public health interventions is strong.

Consumer megatrends


Momentum for change

  • It is clearer than ever that consumers own their own data. GDPR spells that out

  • Consumers expect to have everything they need at their disposal on their phone

  • And they are increasingly happy to interact in new ways using their phone

  • Finally, in healthcare there is a shift away from the accepted "Doctor knows best". People are taking a greater interest in their health, and moving from passive patient to active consumer.


Our ambition

As previously mentioned, the good news is that Interoperability is coming. We either want to work to accelerate that good work, or we want to build some of the first products and services to really drive benefits from these innovations. 

This aligns closely with the direction set by NHS England's Long Term Plan (published January 2019).