Case Study

Gabriela, Patrick, Rogelio & Susanne

Founders, MindMate

Mon, 4 July 2016

MindMate are a team of four graduates from the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. MindMate is already making a big difference in the life of thousands of people worldwide and is now the fastest growing assistance platform for people affected by dementia. Gabriela, Patrick, Rogelio and Susanne work on their business full time and met SIE in 2015.

 

 

How MindMate got started

Patrick Renner, Gabriela Matic and Susanne Mitschke studied their undergraduate degrees together at University in Vienna and then at Masters Level at the University of Glasgow. Patrick met Rogelio Arellano during the 2015 Enterprise Pathway Challenge at the University of Strathclyde. Strathclyde student, Rogelio was a source of inspiration to the team, having spent many years caring for his grandfather who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. During this time, Rogelio and his family used various methods to assist in the caring process, however none offered an effective solution to patient self-management or carer support.

“Roger is our inspiration. For a total of seven years, he cared for his Grandfather, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. During this time they used sticky notes, alarm clocks, whiteboards and also other apps; but none of these things were effective in improving self-management for his Grandfather, and also the caring process of Roger and his family”Susanne Mitschke

The team initially sought advice from The University of Glasgow’s Enterprise Manager, Marion Anderson and Josh Sauter from the University of Strathclyde. Marion introduced the team to SIE, and to Regional Business Advisor for the West, Jonathan Tait. He encouraged the team to enter the Young Innovator’s Challenge in 2015, which they went onto win. At a YIC Bootcamp, the team were introduced to the Business Model Canvas, which was very useful at the beginning to map out their initial ideas for the venture. The £5,000 prize money from the Young Innovators Challenge allowed the team to kick off MindMate. They then entered the Converge Challenge and were accepted into Ignite, one of the UK’s top accelerator programmes. After this, the project really took off the ground. The team recognised MindMate was a viable business idea when they began talking to charitable organisations and societies in the dementia field, and received very good feedback.

What happened next

They built their first prototype and then carried out tests with 100 people in Glasgow; 50 patients and 50 carers. After a three month trial period, it was apparent that their work was helping people and showed real potential to change lives. To date, MindMate has been supported by SIE, Converge Challenge, Enterprise Campus and Entrepreneurial Scotland to name a few, and the team are vocal about the benefits they discovered by starting their business in Scotland.

“Is Scotland a good place to start a business?Absolutely! There are so many grants out there – it’s free money. The support system is also amazing; it’s a very very good place to start a business.”Susanne Mitschke

Next steps

Currently, MindMate is the fastest growing assistance platform and market leader for those affected by dementia, with over 30,000 monthly active users in May 2016, and having healthcare providers as paying customers, including the NHS.

The next step for Susanne, Patrick, Gabriela and Rogelio is to conquer the US market. The group have never looked back since launching MindMate, believe starting a business offers more opportunities than a traditional graduate job:

“The top benefit of being an entrepreneur is that you do so much more than what you would do in a corporate field. Here, we do everything,you wouldn’t get this in a more corporate environment.”Susanne Mitschke

The MindMate story is a great example of young entrepreneurs using e-health technology to tackle a growing challenge facing the UK’s increasing ageing population. For those wanting to follow in their footsteps, they have an unconventional piece of advice:

“Don’t listen to any advice you get, make it work for you!”Susanne Mitschke