Pamble: An Early-Stage HealthTech Start-ups’s Journey with Alpha Hub
Alpha Hub as an Important Milestone for Pamble
One of the most wonderful things for our start-up was being selected as one of the two winners of the very first edition of the Alpha Hub accelerator in 2018, out of more than 200 teams from 50 countries. The experience of the accelerator has helped us a lot with shaping our digital product and with gaining a better understanding of the needs of important stakeholders. It also added a lot to our motivation and drive, and increased our visibility and support network.
So What Is Pamble and How Did Our Journey with Alpha Hub Start?
Pamble is an early-stage HealthTech start-up focused on providing the best integrated digital treatment for gambling addiction, starting from top-level expertise in problem gambling therapy intervention. The user goes through several learning modules, which are accompanied by interactive exercises helping the user achieve important goals, such as cognitive restructuring or turning to alternative behaviors. The mobile app offering this experience brings together proven offline therapy techniques (including CBT, mindfulness, etc.) from world-renowned experts in a unique and interactive recovery program.
The whole idea started from our team’s experience in the problem gambling field, combined with digital transformation, with our main expert, Dr. Viorel Lupu, having more than 15 years of experience in researching and treating individuals with gambling addiction. He is also the President of the Romanian Association for the Study of Gambling. The other team members in the project are seasoned tech entrepreneurs, having worked with more than 40 start-ups so far and having helped them build start-to-end web and mobile applications through Wolfpack Digital, which is the parent company of Pamble.
With only an idea in mind and the clear mission of making intervention and awareness as accessible as possible, we found out about the Alpha Hub accelerator and decided to apply for the chance to join the program.
The application process was very straightforward, and we had several interview calls where we answered relevant questions, after which we were finally announced that we were one of the 7 finalists (at different stages of their journey) to attend the accelerator.
The Alpha Hub Experience
As soon as we found out we were accepted in the program, we started working intensely on better defining the structure of our app, based on the known needs of our end-users. Our perspective had been mainly centred around what we knew about people asking for help and trying to stay in the Responsible Gambling area.
The day of the first Alpha Hub gathering came and we were welcomed in a very nice atmosphere to the Paddy Power Betfair headquarters in Cluj, where we first saw several enriching presentations from the organisers.
The presentations gave us the opportunity to learn a lot about the perspective and challenges companies in the industry face when dealing with the issue of keeping as many users as possible in the safe zone.
This was knowledge we were completely lacking before joining the program and, looking back, we believe there is a lot of opportunity to explore because of learning these new things. The new perspective helped us later shape our product better, to address challenges gamblers face that we were unaware of before, and generally to become more interesting and relevant as a proposition for the big players in the industry.
Pitching time came afterwards, and the board of advisers asked some useful questions that also helped us shape our product better. A few hours of timeboxed mentorship for each start-up from more than 15 mentors with different roles in the gambling industry followed. We consider this as the most valuable part of the first day on program, as we received important feedback and information on pain points our app could address. At the end of the day, we got the chance to socialise with fellow start-ups and the mentors over dinner.
We ended up leaving with fresh ideas about new functionalities, a list of challenges to solve before the next meeting, and some powerful relationships formed with complementary start-ups, that could potentially turn into exciting business opportunities.
We had a couple of weeks until the next stage to prepare our key business indicators and product structure, along with a series of mock-ups. This motivated us to be extremely productive in creating the content of our app, and to design a solid product and business strategy, taking all factors into consideration.
The final meeting was all about pitching, answering questions and receiving more valuable input, and a wonderful networking dinner where we got the chance to pitch our product again in front of a fresh audience of investors and seasoned advisers. Their feedback also proved to be very helpful.
Life after Alpha Hub: App Concept, MVP and What’s Next
We were delighted to learn, a few weeks after the final meeting, that together with Mindway AI, we are the winners of the 2018 edition of Alpha Hub. This allowed for media exposure and for many opportunities to come our way!
It also meant our mentoring and mutual support with the Alpha Hub organisers would continue, with regular meetings and intros being organised for us. In the following weeks, we put together a detailed business plan and explored various investment opportunities.
Here are the main features in version 1 of the Pamble app:
- carefully crafted lessons plan with interactive exercises and tools
- intro to CBT
- interactive cognitive restructuring for daily experiences & gambling sessions
- alternative behaviours
- real-time gambling monitoring
- smart calendar
- smart notifications
- relaxation techniques
We started working on the actual MVP this spring, which we are happy to announce is now ready for clinical validation. The support of Alpha Hub really helped us move forward with the process.
Next, we move forward with clinical validation, after which we intend to make the MVP available to clinics and therapists to help with therapy homework. In parallel, we are looking into attracting more investment to build the complete version of the app, while continuing our relationship forming with various stakeholders interested to support us: clinics, universities, therapists, national regulators, NGOs and companies in the industry.
Would We Recommend Alpha Hub?
Yes, definitely! The gains versus the effort involved in taking part of such a program are totally worth it, as you really get to learn a lot and benefit from a strong support network. In our case Alpha Hub opened many doors and opportunities.
Thank you, Alpha Hub, for the enriching experience, and a thank you goes to the program director, Rob Smith!
We wish all teams in the next edition Alpha Hub the best of luck!