Jaime Essed, founder and CEO of Oh My Mood tells BQ about the work his company is doing to support existing healthcare infrastructure to save both lives and money…
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Oh My Mood is a mental health interventions provider. We create care pathways in which face-to-face mental health therapies are supported by digital solutions – we call this blended care. This improves the quality of care and makes mental health therapy scalable and more efficient.
We work with clinicians, universities and digital health platforms to make evidence-based blended care pathways available to large audiences of therapists and service users alike. Through our work we aim to improve the quality of care and make mental health therapy scalable and more efficient.
What did you do before you started this business?
I was international manager at TelePsy, one of Europe’s leading eHealth platforms. I looked after the company’s international expansion into the German and UK markets (Berlin and Manchester respectively) and was country manager, Germany, for almost three years.
What inspired you to start up?
I come from an enterprising family: my mum is a clinical psychologist who opened her own mental health clinic after years of working in private practice, while my brother is the founder of TelePsy. You could say that entrepreneurship, mental health and ehealth are part of my DNA.
I realised that the adoption of eHealth within mental health was often at the expense of face-to-face therapy. It was an either/or situation whereas I’m a firm believer that the secret to successfully treating mental health conditions lays in a combination of both treatment methods.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We make life easier for mental health therapists: by adding Internet modules to their treatment options they can save time, money and avoid unnecessary stress.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
Anywhere, really! I have found that enthusiasm tends to spread; people are generally willing to help you achieve your goals.
Invest Liverpool and MIDAS have been fantastic sources of support especially in the early stages of setting up. Because of our type of business, I am in frequent contact with universities, NHS innovation agencies, clinicians and consultants. They are all very generous with sharing their knowledge, insights and thoughts and we are very lucky to have so many various disciplines involved for an optimised service offering.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I used my own funds and received additional financial support from my previous employer.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Physically moving to the UK and to have built up a valuable network of academic and research partners within a matter of months. In healthcare, joint-up thinking and evidence-based practice are key so these relationships are hugely important.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
The NHS directs a growing number of patients to webcam and IM appointments. I question their effectiveness when they’re used in isolation or don’t consider specific patient needs.
We believe that eHealth should support face-to-face accredited therapies, not replace them. Blended care is a highly dynamic and flexible care format. It’s not just about adding eHealth components to ease pressure and waiting times. When done right, blended care can accelerate and deepen face-to-face therapies, thereby improving overall health outcomes for the patient.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
I always enjoyed great autonomy but it’s fantastic to be in the driving seat. I can be creative and organise things just the way I want them. More importantly, it’s tremendously exciting to create something that didn’t exist before, especially when it can have such a positive effect on people’s professional and personal lives.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
At the moment we are focusing our efforts on the UK only, but in five years’ time I’d like us to be active in multiple countries – Europe and beyond.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
People do business with people they like, not companies. So pick up the phone and start talking to people that might be a good fit. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck behind a desk either: take the car, train, bicycle, whatever, and go to speak with people directly. Their feedback and insights will be invaluable as you optimise your plans.
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