IMC students are really able to apply what they have learned
I had never planned to study in Austria. However, during my bachelor's degree in the Netherlands, very good career opportunities arose in Vienna and Linz. I came to IMC thanks to many very good recommendations from my colleagues at KPMG and a particularly strong commitment from Christopher Schwand (Head of the Export-oriented Management course). Christopher Schwand and Julia Pelikan (Study Services Export-Oriented Management) spared no effort to make my administration easier and to make my study experience at IMC Krems a real pleasure!
During my studies, I was part of three different universities. What I noticed both at IMC and at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen is that my fellow students are really able to apply what they have learned. They are not students who stick to only theory. They dare and do. That's why companies love students from such universities of applied sciences. They shorten the training period and you can be sure that the tasks get done.
Insights for innovation-driven start-ups on how to scale their positive impact
I have over 5 years of work experience as a paramedic in Germany. Already before and during my time in Krems I have advised startups at KPMG. In Linz, I accompanied a start-up as COO during its growth phase. I was always drawn to the topic of entrepreneurship and, therefore, also chose to write my bachelor thesis at IMC Krems about the topic of social innovation. I wanted to give entrepreneurs of innovation-driven start-ups insights on how to scale their positive impact. For the benefit of people or the environment.
As a paramedic, I can provide rescue management for up to 12 people in a 24-hour shift. The positive impact I could have on people's health was not big enough. With social innovation, I can use i.e. mobile technologies and help people on a population scale in a cost-effective manner. The choice for the MSt Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge supported this wish and opened a lot of doors. At the same time, my partner and I founded our start-up Happyr Health.
Cambridge, a city with access to experts in almost every field
Cambridge is considered Europe's "Silicon Fen" and was a very strategic decision for me and my partner Nicola Filzmoser. We were both accepted there for the Master in Entrepreneurship at the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge. The city is small with only 120,000 inhabitants but it is full of highly skilled talent. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and AstraZeneca all have their offices right next to each other. Here we have access to experts in almost every field and can meet for a coffee or pint in the pub within cycling distance. At the same time, the city offers great opportunities to relax, as nature and the river are at worst 7 minutes away by bike. If we miss the big city or want to meet a wider range of investors, we take a 45-minute train ride to London.
Start up Happyr Health help children with migraine
As a child, I suffered from chronic abdominal pain for more than four years. My co-founder Nicola has been suffering from migraines for the past 17 years. On average, 10% of all children of school age suffer from migraine. In Austria, this number exceeds 100,000 children. Nevertheless, research and practitioners mainly concentrate on the treatment of adults. But not only adults, especially young migraine patients and their families are severely affected by the disease in their daily lives. Children miss up to 50% of school time. The high emotional burden not only increases the probability of developing depression and anxiety; it also increases the risk of stagnant development of the child.
Not only our research but also our personal experience emphasized the need that somebody had to do something to support these children. We chose to take on the challenge! After numerous focus groups and countless interviews with young patients and their parents, we were able to define the problem very precisely. Now we are working together with experts and therapists on a digital solution. This will allow children to speak with an augmented reality avatar in a safe environment. Using the child's conversations and a parent dashboard, the app identifies individual migraine triggers. Based on this migraine diary, we can suggest psychological treatments within the app and adapt them to the child's individual needs. With a team of world leading migraine experts and psychologists, we will provide cognitive behavioural therapy in the form of mobile games.
COVID-19 has turned a lot of things upside down
But we as a company have been lucky. Only projects for clinical trials have been delayed. For young migraine patients and their parents, the change was more drastic. The need for digital therapies has never been more evident than today. The outbreak of the corona crisis has a significant impact on children with chronic pain, as they are forced out of their daily routine and exposed to greater uncertainty. Many appointments with therapists and in special clinics are cancelled and digital resources are the only refuge for desperate parents. By making teletherapy possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austria is already showing how quickly it can and must react in this area.
In order to make the Happyr Health App available to children as soon as possible, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign. Our goal is to raise £10,000 in donations to develop the app together with our technical team. If the campaign is successful, the team will also receive financial support from NatWest Bank. Donations are possible until 25 May 2020.
We want to combine mobile game mechanisms and scientific research to support young migraine patients. Happyr Health is successfully part of the Accelerate Cambridge Program at the Cambridge Judge Business School, which supports selected start-ups with expertise and coaching. Recently, Happyr Health won one of the most prestigious student start-up competitions worldwide (Cambridge University Entrepreneurs).
As an entrepreneur, I can be creative and put together my own team
My character consists of a mixture of naivety, courage and thirst for knowledge. Maybe I have difficulties growing up, but it's just fun to question the status quo and try out unconventional things. I like to set myself big goals and it drives me to learn new things and to solve problems. As an entrepreneur, I can be creative and put together my own team. I am in contact with hundreds of talented people from all fields, cultures and backgrounds. I have never experienced anything where you learn more than when you start your own business.
More about the Crowdfunding Campaign here