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Three years ago, Johann Huber watched one of his friends slip away into a depression caused by work-related stress. In an effort to better understand his friend's condition, Huber went looking for research on how to better measure and manage work-stress, only to find very little of it.
Huber and two of his friends - Peter Schneider and Christopher Lorenz - eventually came up with a way to combine their tech chops and best practices in occupational psychology to do something about this. Using algorithms developed during their studies, the trio mocked up an preventative early warning and management system for stress.
Fast forward to today, and the three friends have started a company dubbed SOMA Analytics, which essentially enables employees to use an app to measure their well-being and ultimately strengthen their mental resilience - all from their smartphones.
The health tech startup, now based in London, has already helped organisations from across the EU reduce work-related stress among their employees and create healthier work environments based on the anonymised data collected via the smartphone app. The benefits for them? Lower absence-related costs and reduced insurance claims, enhanced employee morale and engagement, performance quality, productivity and corporate reputation.
This week, the company launched with one of the world’s largest professional services firms simultaneously in the UK, Ireland and Italy in order to better understand the impact of stress on different European cultures.
Backed by science, SOMA Analytics provides app users with smartphone sensor-measured data on sleep quality, emotion in voice and general well-being. Based on these measurements, participants receive personalised tips and feedback how to increase their emotional resilience. Tips are evidence-based and concern things like sleep hygiene, happiness, mindfulness and personal productivity.
SOMA Analytics thus quantifies and enhances employee well-being through real-time data analysis. The company targets mainly enterprise customers with thousands of staff, although it is not a requirement as such.
SOMA Analytics was part of the Healthbox accelerator and last year participated in the EIT ICT Labs 'Idea Challenge', which provides selected startups with no-strings-attached seed funding, office space, access to network of mentors and more. Huber said he was happy with his participation, not so much for the capital but for the introductions EIT ICT Labs made to initial partners, mentors and customers, as well as a fruitful trip to Silicon Valley set up by the organisation. This year SOMA Analytics was named best promising eHealth SME in Europe by the European Commission.
The startup has raised two rounds of funding, the first one totalling £200,000 in seed financing and the second round undisclosed. It now boasts two offices, in London and Munich, employing 10+ people.
(Featured image credit: stoonn / Shutterstock)