Swedish Startup Space

Kambio – A Gothenburg startup that paves the way to happiness

Written by , and on February 19

Kambio is a Gothenburg based startup that aims to give people the opportunity to feel better and to prevent mental ill-health before it arises. The team has now created a program, deeply rooted in science, so that the process of making co-workers happier is easier for companies and organizations. I spoke to co-founder Philip Axelsson about Kambio’s advancement in the startup sphere.

Philip and his colleague Daniel Albinsson worked together in two companies during the last few years and they both had the ambition to focus their next project on mental wellness:

During the spring of 2013 we both had a mental dip and Daniel started to do research regarding what we could do to feel better as well as what we could do to prevent us from feeling the same way again.”

They found a vast amount of research on the topic and got insight into the aspects that drive mental wellness and happiness in people. At the same time they spotted some problems and one of those is that there are a lot of people who experience mental ill-health in the form of stress, anxiety and depression. Today this is the world’s third biggest health problem and according to the UN it will become the world’s biggest health problem in 15 years.

Today this is the world’s third biggest health problem and according to the UN it will become the world’s biggest health problem in 15 years.

Studies illustrate that three out of four Swedes will have experienced mental ill-health by that time, either on their own or through a person close to them:

We found inspiration from these insights to create a service – that was rooted in science about wellness – in order help people and organizations to prevent mental ill-health.

Philip and Daniel needed help to fulfill their dream and that help came in the form of Filip Fors, a leading researcher in the area, from the University of Umeå. They needed someone who could develop the product and Filip was the guy for the mission. He is responsible for using scientifically proven methods and activities at Kambio. The team also headhunted Erik Törnblom and Olle Svensson, former classmates from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, because of their competencies in development and design.

Other actors on the market

Kambio distinguishes itself from other similar services, since they focus on helping people feel better and to prevent mental ill-health rather than just becoming more productive and performing better. There are a couple of companies in Sweden and abroad that develop applications and web services that improve mental strength and mental wellness. Among them are Remente, Appiness and Happify. But Philip is not worried about competition:

The actors we are competing against consist, to a higher degree, of analogical options such as consultants and coaches who strive to create healthy, well-being co-workers and organizations. But in the long run we see them more as potential partners instead of competitors.”

Interest in the product

Kambio has actively been working since September of last year and has already met with and spoken to several of the country’s largest organizations and to some smaller companies as well. Philip continues:

There is no question that there is a high demand for a service like this, which offers you the opportunity to enhance your co-workers mental wellness.”

What makes Kambio unique is that all the data is processed through a scientific filter before it reaches the user. The team has already completed beta testings with a consulting company in Gothenburg and one of the country’s leading gym chains in Stockholm. After feedback and updates from this stage, Kambio has further developed four pilot projects with companies stemming from Gothenburg and Umeå. A finished product is planned to be released in the beginning of April 2014 and they are now planning a start for projects with their first customers.

Investments

As previous articles have stated on Swedish Startup Space, it is challenging to receive funding in the early stages. Kambio is well aware of this problem:

Early on we tried to secure our capital requirements. We applied for Chalmers Innovation Startup Camp last fall, which later led to our first seed investment from Chalmers Innovation this January.”

The team points out that it is not a matter of large sums of money, but that they now will have the time to find their target customers before eventually seeking a new round of investments.

Gothenburg – a proper startup scene?

None of the people at Kambio has any experience of the Stockholm startup community, but Philip elaborates his thoughts on Gothenburg:

”I think there are a lot of interesting things going on in Gothenburg. But I feel that we are missing a natural forum where all the startups can get together and exchange thoughts and ideas. Fortunately, we are located at Chalmers Innovation, where we share premises with other startups. That means that the startups can bounce ideas off one another and learn from each other.”

Kambio in the coming years

Kambio wants to change the negative trend of young people and adults being afflicted with mental ill-health. The goal is to share knowledge about this problem and, above all, convey how people can work on their mental health and give themselves the opportunity to feel better. Kambio aims to convey this message to as many people as possible, regardless of who they are and how they feel:

In the short term we want to establish ourselves on the market as an important and credible actor. We strive to find efficient partners who wants to share our tool and, more importantly, our vision that everyone can feel better.”

Photo credit: Anna Sigvardsson.

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