Young innovators raise funds to extend reach of their family wellbeing app into schools

September 16, 2022

An app developed by two UWE Bristol graduates to help families improve their health and happiness with fun and engaging activities has crowdfunded £144,000.

Focused on exercise, nutrition, and mental health – the three core pillars of wellbeing – the 200-plus intergenerational activities created by Famli allow households build healthier habits into their daily routines. 

Each family member can design their own avatar, complete levels and access rewards, fostering a sense of friendly competition.

Across the world, more than 9,000 families have now downloaded the Famli app, created by Benjamin Draper and William Testiel.

It is also increasingly being used in schools to help teachers support pupil wellbeing and strengthen links with families.

Benjamin, pictured, said: “We know that family life is busy and that it’s a struggle to get kids to try new things without a fight.

“But with our animated and gamified experience, we’re making kids excited about eating their veg, playing games outside and taking care of their mental health. 

“With so many of today’s wellbeing apps focused on individuals, we wanted to create something for the family unit, leveraging that readymade support network based on mutual encouragement and fun.”

Famli’s crowdfunding round closed at more than double its target of £70,000 and was supported by Innovate UK EDGE’s Bristol-based innovation and growth specialist Giulia Pratico, who provided investment readiness guidance. 

Innovate UK EDGE is the UK innovation agency’s resource for innovative businesses that are ambitious to grow further and scale.

Benjamin added: “We started working with Giulia in January 2021 when we won Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Award and the support has been absolutely invaluable.

“We’ve been able to understand our customers on a much deeper level, develop a marketing strategy that can fuel growth and prepare for investment and grant funding.”

Famli is using the crowdfunded finance to expand its offering to primary schools, supporting teachers with the wellbeing curriculum and positively impacting pupil wellbeing at home as well as in the classroom. 

Clinicians in Sweden have already identified the Famli app as the number one solution for preventing childhood obesity by 2030, while eight primary schools in Spain have requested access to the app.

Innovate UK EDGE design thinking specialist Sarah Dickins helped Famli with the move into the education sector, using focus groups to understand teachers’ pain points.

Benjamin said: “With Sarah’s support, we were able to ask the right questions and develop a deep, objective understanding of what the app needs to deliver in schools.

“Those findings helped us focus on user-centric design principles and we now have interest from more than 20 schools in the South West.”

Famli’s crowdfunding success follows a £50,000 Innovate UK grant, secured as a follow-on to the Young Innovators Award, with support from Innovate UK EDGE funding specialist Adele Reynolds.

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