The purpose of the Tech For Good series of interviews is to create a platform that showcases and champions companies, products and technologists who are using technology as a force for positive change in the world.
We are Benjamin Draper and William Testeil, Co-Founders of Famli – Supporting the physical and mental health of young children in a fun, engaging and educational way. Famli is the first digital solution helping schools and families improve their health in a fun and simple way, providing engaging content covering exercise, nutrition, and mental health specifically made for families.
We address 2 important global challenges:
1) 160 million obese children globally, forecasted to increase to 250 million by 2030 (20.2% of children in the UK are obese).
2) 50% of mental health issues are established by the age of 14
Famli is here to create positive social change, and it’s vision is simple – To build a world in which all families wake up feeling healthy and happy.
Now more than ever, mental, physical, and nutritional wellbeing are crucial aspects of life that need to be nurtured and improved. Yet, after graduating from university we found that while there are over 350,000 of health and wellbeing solutions to help individuals, a significant lack of solutions and support is present to help both schools and families easily improve wellbeing. Supporting pupil wellbeing and teaching healthy living is very difficult when schools can’t impact home life, and Famli provides that connection between schools and their community. That lead us to creating Famli and offering an effective tool, combining intergenerational activities and gamification features – maximising engagement, bringing communities together to spend quality time exercising more, eating better and improving their mental health, all from one place.
One challenge we faced as a start up was attracting private investment to scale whilst remaining “for good”. Raising your first round of investment is difficult for every business and you need to do what you can to make the business as attractive to investors as possible. Unfortunately this can easily lead to companies sliding away from focusing on their positive impact and instead looking to solely generate return for investors. We are very lucky to have raised £150,000 in private funding whilst still staying true to our mission and putting all resources towards achieving this and making a positive impact on families health, but this was a huge challenge for us.
I think a purpose-driven business embodies a very deep human desire, to make a contribution to the group and wider society. People want to work for and support a company whose purpose is focused on the greater good of society. I think tech professionals are realising that using their skills to create meaningful connections and a deep sense of purpose, is far more rewarding than a pay cheque.
The key thing we have learnt about tech for good, is that something won’t necessarily work and be adopted just because it’s “good”. It still needs to solve a real problem and provide solutions to issues. For example, we thought, great let’s help families improve their wellbeing, everyone will benefit from that and love whatever we create. We soon learnt parents are busy, children need to be engaged, and school communities have limited resources and time. Figure out the deep underlying first, and then create the solution and tech around that to help solve it.