Lucy Neave

CareTech, a provider of specialist social care services for adults and children in the UK, has acquired a majority shareholding in an assistive technology company in a deal worth up to £10.6m.

The deal for Smartbox Assistive Technology and Sensory Software International, collectively known as Smartbox, represents CareTech’s first digital investment.

Smartbox develops software and hardware that helps disabled people without speech to have a voice and live more independently.

As well as technology adoption, CareTech is also prioritising international growth and Smartbox has a presence in the US.

To facilitate the acquisition, CareTech has established a new subsidiary, Smartbox Holdings Ltd, which is 70 per cent owned by CareTech.


The remaining minority ownership is held by the Smartbox management team comprising Dougal Hawes, Jarrod Inott and Hannah Church as well as previous owners Paul and Alyson Hawes.

The initial purchase price of the stake is £7.05m and earn-outs of up to £3.55m are payable over a two year period from completion. 

Mike Adams, CareTech executive director, said: “Covid-19 has shone a very bright light on the increasing reliance of technology in every aspect of our individual lives and as a society.

“Every report – from the United Nations to ONS data – has shown disabled people have been disproportionately disadvantaged, and isolated, as the digital transformation has not been inclusive or accessible as it could or should. 

“Assistive technology is the means to unlocking the digital world to millions of disabled people – from accessing information, purchasing products and services to engaging through social media. This is the optimal time to put the “tech” firmly into CareTech and address the needs of disabled people worldwide.”

CareTech is headquartered in Potters Bar. Smartbox is headquartered in Malvern, Worcestershire, with operations in Bristol and the US.