KRY/LIVI acquires Enjo — and the mission to improve mental health continues
We started our journey with Shim in 2015, with a strong belief that a fully automated chatbot could be a feasible way to improve mental well-being. At the time, this was not a given. Sure, ELIZA had proven the appeal of talking to an automated therapist already in the 60s, but there was no Woebot, no Wysa, no Replika.
We knew it would be a challenge to create a consumer product that introduced a new behavior but we were up for it! I was very much influenced by my experience as a researcher, writing the world’s first dissertation on using a smartphone app in treatment for depression. Even though my research showed that smartphone-aided therapy was a very promising avenue, we had a hard time commercializing the solution. Due to the Swedish compensation model, therapists using our solution would not be rewarded in any way, even though they became twice as effective.
Fueled by the frustration I was eager to create a new product and go straight to the consumer. We started out with Shim in Sweden, did a study in collaboration with Linköping University showing that talking to Shim reduced stress and increased well-being — and received more than 450 five star ratings on App Store. Last spring we started working on Enjo, narrowing the scope to parents — and then launched in the US in December. Quartz, Axios, Buzzfeed and parenting sites in the US, Russia and Brazil covered Enjo, Apple featured us in more than 10 countries around the world, and we were even featured as App of the Day in the UK App Store.
All in all, we have come a long way in creating the automated, supportive chatbot we set out to craft four years ago, and we’ve made a ton of learnings (see for example John’s post about creating empathy in a digital service). Now it’s however time for us to close this chapter — and open a new one. We have been acquired by KRY/LIVI, the leading provider of digital health care in Europe.
In a sense, things have now come full circle. At KRY/LIVI we’ll be tackling the same types of challenges as we did 5 years ago with my dissertation: Improving health care with digital tools. Now, however, we’re armed with all the know-how we’ve built during our years with Shim and Enjo. And of no less importance, in a market where digital health care has been normalized, and where more efficient health care is an immediate win for patients, providers and the tax payers.
Enjo will still be up and running until September 1, and we recommend that you download your data from the app (see FAQ here).
We’re well aware of what a rare privilege it is to get the chance to pursue a dream like this, and we’re super grateful for all the support we’ve received during our almost 4 year long journey from users, investors, friends and family. And we’re beyond excited to continue our journey at KRY/LIVI!
Hoa, CEO & co-founder