I felt that a tool was needed in order to get some more balance in life.
This was the initial idea behind Remente, a startup that creates digital tools which help you reach your goals and unleash your potential. I recently sat down with co-founder David Brudö, a creative entrepreneur in Gothenburg, where he talked about the evolvement of Remente and which challenges they face.
Remente was co-founded with partners Niklas Forser, Idriz Zogaj and Anders Hallin and they got the company off the ground in 2011. David had the idea in his head for quite some time. He was interested in personal improvement and quantified self, contemplating over questions such as: Why do certain people perform well? Why do people feel good or bad? He read a vast amount of literature on the subject and all of the books basically said the same thing. By taking a look at his own environment and life he noticed something interesting:
”I meet people around me everyday who say that ”this is hard” and ”this is stressful”, including myself. But there are simple tools you can use to increase the quality of your life radically. Why should those not be available to all of us?”
I asked David how he was able to manage his involvement in other startups such as Fyndiq and Destly. That is where Remente entered the picture:
”How do I cope with stress and how do I focus and prioritise? It is actually about your mental ability to do so, how you can releate to, deal with and understand the environment around you. If you feel you are in control and that you are heading in the direction that you have outlined, you will feel less stressed.”
A mental gym – what is unique about Remente?
Think of Remente as a regular gym, but online and where you exercise your mind instead of your body. It was essential to create the service through the Internet so you can access it via your smartphone or computer. David highlights the gamification aspect and explains that it can be used to engage people on a deeper level. An important element is to create a system where it is easy for people to start the process and follow up on their progress.
The company aims to create an overall solution to train your mental strength. The team wants to help individuals and organizations to reach their goals, perform and feel better.
”For an individual, we want to increase your quality of life. For a corporation, we want to improve its performance. And what makes companies perform are motivated individuals. We help individuals and organizations with the ”what, how and when” aspects of reaching goals. Right now we are developing a web application where we are creating a complete solution to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be. It basically works like a digital coach that can help you deal with stress, sleep, goal setting, time management and more”.
The web application is yet to be released, but a beta testing phase will take place in the first quarter of 2014. There is already a demand for the service and Remente will address both consumers and companies. The company has already signed their first corporate customers. For consumers it will be a premium service like Spotify, where one part is free and the other costs, while companies pay per seat and for add-on services.
Like most startups, it has been no walk in the park to get to where they are today. One of the main challenges has been to concretize the concept, since a mental gym can be perceived as somewhat vague. David also mentions an aspect that is a tough nut to crack:
”We are working with behavioural changes which is incredibly difficult. But if we manage to break it down and establish an efficient system, I know we we will end up with something extremely powerful. Our team has proven that we can do this offline and we are determined and confident that we can do it online as well.”
The financial part of it can also be a problem:
”We have received funding now so we are ready to go. But one of the problems today is that in Sweden it is hard to get enough early money to help you make your mark. We are competing globally and US startups often receive up to ten times the funding compared to a Swedish counterpart in the early phases. For this reason, I have friends that go directly to the UK or the US to get early funding.”
The team and Gothenburg
A team consisting of nine different experts has been brought together in order to develop a unique concept. Among them are Idriz Zogaj, chairman of the Swedish Memory Association, Anders Hallin, who has worked at Skype and Stardoll, and Niklas Forser, previously a Marketing Director at Nestlé and Carlsberg. Another one is Kjell Enhager, a mental coach who is an advisor to world class athletes and business leaders. Early investors include Mikael Pawlo (Mr. Green) and Jan Bosch (previously VP at Intuit).
In addition to this, I asked David about Gothenburg as a startup city and why Remente is located there:
”Well, most of us are from Gothenburg. I am excited to see everything that is going on in Stockholm where the startup community has a different pulse. There are a lot of interesting companies in Gothenburg, but there is not a distinct startup community as such. The mentality here is more that you do your own thing and stick to yourself.”
There is not a distinct startup community as such. The mentality here is more that you do your own thing and stick to yourself.
Remente is a relatively new startup, but what is the vision for the future?
”Globally we want to be number one when it comes to services that help you improve your mental strength. There are unique possibilities for us to help people in a way that has not been done before, mainly thanks to the Internet and digital devices such as tablets, computers and smartphones.”
Among all the possibilities there are also other aspects to take into consideration. David concludes:
”Billions of dollars are spent on mental wellness and it is a growing market. We want to move it to the Internet and improve it. Many of the treatments conercning mental health are first put into place when the damage has already been done. If I am burned out, I will go to a psychologist. What if we could prevent you from becoming burned out in the first place? Furthermore, everyone cannot afford self improvement courses, mental coaches or psychologists. We want to democratize mental well-being and make this knowledge available to all.”