Meet our Alumni: Oli help
At VITA Accelerator we're proud to support a new generation of digital health startups, accelerating both Italian and foreign startups willing to do business in Italy in cooperation with key Italian and international operators, investors and corporates.
As we continued these efforts with our 2023 cohort, we are diving into each of our Alumni’s journeys, gaining insights into their transformative solutions, and how the acceleration program has helped take them to the next level. This time, we are sitting down with Oli help’s, Co-founder & CEO, Valeria Della Rosa.
Oli help empowers the many parents who struggle to cope with a child’s diverse behavioral traits. Through our app, we give these parents the tools to create a transformative impact on their children’s lives, helping them thrive with diverse minds.
How did your company come about and how do you envision your solution will change the current healthcare scenario?
Oli help is largely the result of my personal story, first and foremost as a mum, but not only. After struggling to cope with my child's diverse behavioral traits for quite some time and reaching the point of feeling powerless and hopeless, I learned that life can improve for everyone, including the child, if as parents we change our approach. But change is no easy endeavor, especially for adults, and that’s why I created Oli help.
Our mission is to empower parents of kids with 'diverse minds,' starting with those with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that affects between 5-7% of children and 2-5% of adults worldwide.
Whilst ADHD, like other neurodevelopmental disorders, cannot be cured, it can be managed effectively through multimodal treatment, including medication and behavioral interventions. Further, evidence indicates that starting with psychosocial treatment (parent training/school training) might produce better outcomes than going with medication first.
However, access to care is globally suboptimal, with healthcare systems having to ration available resources, resulting in delayed access to treatment (or families having to turn to unaffordable options in the private sector), and therefore, medication often being prioritized over psychosocial treatment.
Our solution is an innovative approach to behavioral parent training. We are developing an app to provide parents with 24/7 practical advice when families need it most. We use evidence-based research and responsible technology to help parents in three distinct ways:
- We provide access to expert information and knowledge to help make sense of their kids’ diverse minds.
- We provide on-the-spot support to do things differently, including suggestions for what to do and say when things get hard, which helps parents evolve their own behavioral patterns.
- We help parents build a stronger connection with their child.
Oli help is clinically safe, whilst always respecting privacy. We also personalize our help, accompanying parents on their journeys through any clinical assessments their child may require.
How are you hoping to take your company to the next level during the VITA Accelerator Program?
The VITA Accelerator Program has been an exciting opportunity for us to take Oli help to the next level helping us bring our idea to life. I joined the program shortly after I had created the company and right in the midst of our very first pre-seed round. At that point, I had an idea, a prototype and a drive to raise funds to build a team that was eager to develop the product to help as many parents in need as possible! Throughout the course of the program, we have come a few steps closer to realizing our vision even though the journey is far from over!
First and foremost, we are very excited that VITA, the digital health accelerator backed by CDP Venture Capital is our first Italian institutional investor! As a company we are thinking internationally and that’s why we also have American and German investors, however we are ‘Italian at heart’ and the first market we want to launch in is Italy, so we were also looking for an Italian launch pad!
But funding is only a minor part of the story. We are operating in digital health hence we are working to enhance access to care, reduce waiting times, improve patient experience, lower delivery costs and everything you can reasonably (and not so easily!) expect from a digital health solution…! And yet we are only a startup in the pre-seed stage… so, we still need all the help we can get, especially technical, vertical expertise and VITA gave us access to the right mentors and industry experts that advised us on multiple fronts.
Could you highlight some significant milestones or connections made? Which program sessions or events have been most beneficial for your company?
You mean beyond adding milestones to the roadmap of a startup and adding to the dots-yet-to-connect in the mind of a founder?! Jokes aside, I do believe that the biggest value of VITA as an acceleration program has been in terms of helping me identify and plan milestones and indeed prioritize which dots to connect first. There are so many factors to consider in digital health, from data protection and clinical trials to certification, to name a few. In some case, these aspects are still ‘new’ for established corporates and are continuously evolving in each market! You can’t be an expert and current with everything but it definitely helps to have access to respective experts who can advise you on what’s appropriate at your stage of development. Similarly, it’s pretty easy to get over-excited (and overwhelmed) as a founder, so being periodically nudged back onto your track is extremely helpful. I really appreciated the 1:1 sessions… and the holistic well-being session that kindly reminded me with evidence-based research that starting a company is a marathon and not a sprint!
What’s next for your company?
At our core, we want to support parents to take steps to approach parenting differently and solve their daily challenges, leveraging tech to do this. Oli, our engine, is powered by AI and learns from parents' feedback on their interactions with the child and the evolution of the child’s diagnostic profile. At the moment we are working 24/7 to design and develop our solution to do just this. Sounds simple, right? We definitely want to make life a lot easier for our users, parents and caregivers of kids with diverse minds.
Moreover, our goal for the future is to develop a digital therapeutic for ADHD and certain comorbidities, starting with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (what makes life hell for parents!). We know now that when it comes to ADHD, comorbidities are the norm, hence our clinical ambition is to be able to personalize the treatment approach, generate a wealth of data for collective learning and ultimately contribute to better health outcomes for patients.
Our team, which brings together clinical, technological and design expertise, is now complete and we have what we need to develop the MVP, conduct a pilot clinical study and launch in Italy next year.
We are developing the app in English and Italian, so we plan to expand into other markets shortly after. While the go-to-market approach will ultimately vary depending on the health care system and recognition of digital therapeutics, we plan to go with a B2C approach first to prove value to parents. Ultimately, we’d also like to pursue a B2B2C approach obtaining reimbursement from healthcare providers and/or insurances but we are expecting this to take time.
More info at www.olihelp.com