Brain Sciences


UCL start-up Kalgera launches app to protect vulnerable people’s finances

29 April 2020

The personal finance app, developed by Dr Dexter Penn (Dementia Research Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) is welcoming its first users, helping to protect the finances of vulnerable adults, including elderly people, from fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.

kalgera sofa logo

Many people who are self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic have become more reliant on online services and so are particularly vulnerable to fraud.

The Kalgera app uses neuroscience and machine learning to detect unusual activity on a bank account and securely alert the account’s owner, as well as their trusted family and caregivers, helping prevent fraud.

The first people to join Kalgera’s waiting list will now have early access to the beta release of the app. This access will initially be free after Kalgera signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge to do whatever it can to help those most affected by the pandemic.

Kalgera’s CEO Dr Dexter Penn, Clinical Research Associate at Queen Square Institute of Neurology, who founded the company in 2017, said: “Our mission has always been to help people be more financially resilient by recognising vulnerability early so they can do something about it.

With many more people accessing a variety of different services online at this time, there has unfortunately been a sharp spike in reported scams globally as fraudsters attempt to cash in on the coronavirus outbreak. Our technology will help safeguard those who matter most to us, both now and in the future.”

Dr Penn came up with the idea for Kalgera through his clinical work in elderly care after seeing patients fall victim to scams. Each year, around five million older people in the UK are approached by fraudsters, collectively losing an estimated £1.2 billion.

The company has also established a stakeholder working group consisting of real carers and experts in accessibility, fraud, cyber-security and financial regulation to ensure the use of best practice to safeguard those most vulnerable. Kalgera has also been collaborating with major banks and building societies to further develop and grow its technology capability.

Dr Penn said: “We’ve learnt a lot during the user testing period and have put that into the product. We found that most people do not consider themselves to be vulnerable and struggle with this term even though they need support. The numbers of people in need will only rise off the back of the economic hit posed by coronavirus.”


Source: UCL Innovation & Enterprise  

Photo © Kalgera