Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The creation of aparito

Not in a million years did I imagine that I would ever be a co-founder of a social enterprise. Throughout my childhood all I wanted to do was become a children’s nurse; running a business never featured. But to be fair, neither did studying for a PhD or rowing across two oceans. So at the grand old age of 38 I am now trying to get my head round terms such as vesting cliff and burn rate in order to get aparito limited up and running. On reflection the idea for aparito began during my PhD, when I was trying to develop a fast and pain-free test to assess children. After twelve years of applying tests and procedures that were painful, invasive, long and complex on the children under my care I was convinced that there must be a better way. The main symptom that I tried to measure was ataxia. 'Ataxia' means ‘lack of order’. People with ataxia have problems with movement, balance, and speech, and I used gait analysis as one way to quantify the severity of children’s ataxia. Without the ability to quantify the symptoms in a meaningful way Doctors are unable to determine if medications and interventions are effective in managing the disease and it’s symptoms - a major problem in the drug development process. Fast-forward seven years and serendipity introduced me to Ed (yes, it’s true, we did meet on a classy dating app!). Ed is a tech geek and knows all that needs to be known about the digital techy world. Over many dinners and glasses of wine wild ideas and general discussion led to the decision that the rapid development of wearable technology in the fitness world offered us a real opportunity to monitor children’s ataxia in real time, and pain-free! Our first ever-funding application was successful – giving us great reassurance that our idea was not completely off-the-wall! Being awarded a place on Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) accelerator programme was the perfect start for us. BGV is an accelerator programme for people who want to change the world using technology. They invest and support teams with new ideas to help build solution to social and environmental problems through an intensive three-months programme. With an awareness that we had a huge amount of work to do, Ed and I recruited biochemistry post-grad James Skinner to join us. James and I had shared a considerable amount of time together hiking on the rail of a racing sailing yacht, and so I knew that we could work well together. We’ve only made baby-steps so far, but already things are moving at a fast pace. I will keep you posted of our progress as it happens. Website to be launched soon @aparitohealth

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