In 2012, our CODE_n Alumnus Soma Analytics started out with an honorable vision: to reduce work-related stress and make work-life more sustainable. Three years later the company, now based in UK’s startup hotspot London, has just been named Europe’s best mHealth Startup. Their flagship product is an evidence based mobile resilience program for employees which provides personalized improvement plans and interventions based on biometric information tracked by a smartphone. We talked to Johann Huber, CEO of Soma Analytics, about his initial idea, his achievements, tips for young founders and the advantages of his adoptive home London.
Following on from your time as a CODE_n Finalist, what have been Soma Analytics’ greatest achievements?
Johann: Believe it or not we met one of our first and biggest clients at the CODE_n booth at CeBIT. Now we are working together with them in three countries. Besides that we have just been named “Europe’s best mHealth Startup 2015” by the European Commission. We also collected more than one million Euros in external funding through grants and angel investment.
What lessons have you learned or failures you’ve experienced and how have you coped with them?
Johann: It’s been an extremely steep learning curve in the last one and a half years. The biggest learning is that a great product is not selling itself. You need to be as innovative in sales as you are in product development. When we started we didn’t have many reference cases so it took a lot of convincing to get the ball rolling and to build momentum. But it is not always a disadvantage to be a small company. Larger companies like innovation and the speed with which startups are moving forward… so whenever you meet someone there is a bit of curiosity and people are intrigued how life is in a startup.
What were your biggest takeaways from your time at CODE_n?
Johann: Of course the biggest amazement was that we won the selfie challenge with Ulrich Dietz, so I guess an awesome picture counts as our biggest takeaway! All jokes aside, through CODE_n we were able to meet some amazing thought leaders in big data and speak to very interesting companies. And as I mentioned above we met our first big client there.
What advice would you give to startups looking to enter CODE_n?
Johann: Be prepared to give your pitch at least 500 times – so take some sore throat medication with you to CeBIT. But seriously, you will pitch a lot so keep smiling and be energetic. Also get some gadgets to show people and attract attention to your stand. Through our stress measurement app we got a lot of attention and amazing press. It also helped to explore the halls around CODE_n. Last but not least I would definitely recommend sticking around for the evening events which are great fun. More…