Tim Russell’s Five Good Friends home care disruption model gaining momentum

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Arguably the retirement village sector’s most successful executive in recent years, Tim Russell has quietly launched his new venture – Five Good Friends.

Following the momentum being achieved by Peter Scutt’s Better Caring disruption model, Five Good Friends is a digital app and portal that provides home services, including low level care.

There are several unique aspects.

Most important is that each client has a Community Manager that assesses them for the services that they both need and want. And that Community Manager stays with the client as a form of case manager overseeing all aspects of their Five Good Friends service.

There is no charge for the Community Manager, but rather the client pays a weekly membership fee which in this launch phase is $25 but will be $49 once the service settles down.

Home service ‘helpers’ are paid $35 an hour by the client.

Russell launched what is RetireAustralia from scratch in 2005 and led it through the GFC and to its final sale in December 2014 to Infratil and NZ Super. They paid $640M for 28 villages delivering 3,700 units.

Russell stayed on for six months but has been working on Five Good Friends since.

He is joined in the venture by his university friends, Simon Lockyer and Nathan Betteridge, who are driving the business. They are experienced in start-ups having 10 years ago created everydayhero.com, the leading charity fundraising technology for not for profits.

The name Five Good Friends comes from the studies by the American Dan Buettner that identifies communities that have Blue Zones, where people live longer due to their connections with friends. For optimum quality of life we have five to six good friends that we carry with us through the ages.

Russell sees their service being aligned with both village and home care operators. They are currently building their business case from a base of four Brisbane community hubs.