Almost exactly one year ago, six PhD students teamed up with the common goal of creating an innovative business idea. Being all very different people, we had a lot of fun throwing our ideas together over multiple caffeinated beverages, until our idea really came together. And now, looking back, it’s great to see how what seemed like a fun side-project to our studies has become a real fledgling start-up. Our idea was a self-monitoring health app called CogniTracker, with the potential to aid in the early diagnosis of dementia in the general population. It will be able to track performance, physiology and well-being of users by measuring visual movements, speech changes, hand movements and cognition using smartphone technology.
Winning the Lion’s Den Challenge in February was a huge turning point for us as it meant we could really start to launch our idea forward, with the support of KCL. We had loads of ideas for the project that we needed to test out and people we wanted to work with, and now as winners of the competition we had the financial backing and confidence in our idea to really get started.
In the last 6 months we have been putting a lot of the basic business skills learned from the Lion’s Den workshops into practice, along with the continued support of the Lion’s Den team. We have been learning how to set up a business, protect our IP, and carrying out market research. Winning also gave us the opportunity to do the fun part of the business; designing the games we wanted for our app! Over the summer our programmer, Richard, has been making a prototype of the app and it’s been awesome to see him turn doodles of our ideas into fun games that can be played on a smartphone. Having a mentor provided through the Lion’s Den Challenge has also been invaluable to us, with incredible insight and fine-tuning to enhance our ideas throughout this venture.
Looking back to this time last year, we really couldn’t have guessed the knowledge we would gain, the skills we would acquire and the friendships we would make through the Lion’s Den programme. It’s been a great experience for us and we would definitely recommend that you give it a try this year! Good Luck!
Written by Christos Michaelides & Christina Wayman