In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and innovators working on our next generation of new business startups, social enterprises and small businesses.
At a glance
Founders: DR.FABIAN LABRA SPRÖHNLE, Isidora Labra Odde, Myriam Odde Cattan
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
Globally diagnosing and monitoring mental health conditions is time consuming and the current tools are often performance-based, lack precision or do not use objective measures.
We are developing the first ever objective diagnostic tool that analyses human thought processes through deep phenotyping of neurodiversity to move away from performance tests that lead to ableist views.
This could support the clinical management and assessment of a range of mental health conditions (e.g. ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder). The tool analyses a person’s thought patterns through a digital and customised version of the game ‘Battleships’, these measures are then used in a machine learning model to output a diagnostic probability to the clinician.
Our company takes a Translation R&D approach. This means that we have gone all the way from idea/hypothesis, testing and more recently validation and implementation. The vision for the company is to continue to partner with health organisations, researchers and clinicians to further develop and validate our solution. Ultimately we want to create a marketable product that can be sold and licensed to public and private health organisations.
As a biotech startup we prioritise safety, clinical utility and medical compliance. Therefore we work under the ‘Open Science’ ethos meaning that we freely share our technology for other health researchers to use in their replication trials which is further validating the safety and efficacy of the technology.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
The business was born out of the research conducted by Dr.Fabian Labra Spröhnle in the area of child psychopathology. Fabian and the research team developed a new clinical technology that combines mathematics (fractal geometry) and predictive modelling to describe and analyse Executive Functions (EF) patterns from thought processes.
EF are goal-directed and anticipatory capabilities that control human behaviour and mental activities. EF atypical patterns are the most common features associated with mental health conditions in children. Fractal measures from these EF patterns can be collected from an inference task, using a customised and digital version of the board-game ‘Battleships’. This breakthrough finding led to further work directed towards translational research. From this subsequent research it was always our intention to create a usable product in the mental health space.
What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?
- So far we have built a great collaboration network across New Zealand, Turkey, Estonia and most recently the UK. These strong clinical, scientific, engineering and business collaborators have supported us throughout the translation process and have allowed us to continue to innovate despite our limited funds. Furthermore, the low cost nature of our product and trial setup has meant that we have been able to successfully take a bootstrapping approach while continuing to develop the product and generate promising scientific breakthroughs.
- Online there is an abundance of resources available to entrepreneurs and we have been making use of these. Most recently our CEO attended a free startup sessions workshop run by Creative HQ that we would recommend. This was aimed at upskilling and deepening a founder’s understanding of what it takes to run a business with a few deep dive sessions from experts.
- There are also various startup accelerators and programmes available particularly for young entrepreneurs which we will be looking to leverage in the future.