Tell us about your business.
Co-Opts is building the pipes to systematise mental health. Mental health is cinderella at the health ball receiving 1/32 of the research funding cancer gets on a like for like basis. This is due to a catch-22 problem, there's a lack of comprehensive data for systematic research so it loses out when looking for funding which means there's a lack of systematic data. Co-Opts first tool is focused on automating the note taking in therapy sessions. This will solve 3 problems, it relieves clinicians of a dilemma they face, whether to impair the therapeutic alliance by taking notes during the session which negatively affects outcomes or to rely on fallible human memory which is subject to bias and noise. Solving these problems will de-stress clinicians; create consistent notes; it will save 1 hour a day which would offer the NHS a 20% jump in productivity which could mean an additional 400,000 patients treated and lastly it will provide the opportunity to gather the data needed at scale and systematically to solve the catch-22 situation mental health research is in. Consistent accurate data should finally start to drive the number needed to treat down.
When did you start your business?
What's been your biggest highlight?
Wining an InnovateUK grant has been our biggest highlight as it has allowed us the time and budget to build our beta product though unexpectedly getting our first pilot 5 months earlier than expected was a close second.
What's been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been talking to our users, not many people know this but mental health services have been operating at 98%-99% capacity throughout the pandemic. They’ve actually been busier than before the pandemic and as a result it’s been very hard to get to talk to clinicians because they are working flat out. Our second challenge has been investors skepticism, we’re creating a new market in a new way in a sector that hasn’t seen innovation in any fundamental way in over 100 years and they’re unsure.
Advice for entrepreneurs starting out
It's hard, very hard. Initially you're in your own bubble with a hypothesis. You need to get out of that bubble and meet potential customers and present your idea and then you need to listen and listen well no matter how upsetting the feedback is. How well you listen and how patient you are feeds directly into how likely and well your product market fit happens.