Tomo is a chatbot that helps you manage the habits that keep you healthy. Tomo uses an anonymous, distributed buddy system, to help users help each other. Tomo is designed to provide scalable, personalised mental health support to the ~700 million people worldwide struggling with depression.
One in five people globally will experience serious depression at some point in their lives. Even in developed nations, over 75% of people who meet the criteria for depression go untreated.
Behavioral Activation is an effective, low cost means of treating and preventing mental illness. It helps identify habits that feed depression, and replace them with healthier habits, gradually undoing a depressive cycle. However, training and deploying enough mental health professionals to meet the need will take decades, and billions of dollars.
Furthermore, depression impairs memory and sense of time. This is a huge obstacle for creating new habits.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
“I want to congratulate Tomo on designing the best behavioural activation tool I have seen. It will engage patients where others have failed… I will recommend it to my patients”
Dr Stephen Pereira - Practice head, Insight Network.
“...Genuinely helpful during times when I'm so overwhelmed I forget to take care of myself” - user, male, 20s
“I really like that others who struggle with mental health issues would cheer me on and that I could cheer them on.” - user, female, 30s
Our solution's stage of development:
Our target outcomes:
Over 30% of the global population already uses a smartphone - this is projected rise to 40% by 2020. Tomo is a chatbot, so could be delivered via text-message in the future. If only 1% of depressed people with smartphones use Tomo, that’s 1.3 million people helped.
Since Tomo lives on a phone, it’s accessible to those outside the reach of bricks-and-mortar healthcare: refugees, the homeless, people in healthcare ‘deserts’.
Tomo is highly adaptable - it runs on simple scripts, like an actor. We plan to offer it for a broad range of behaviour change and behavioural research uses.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The countries we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
Tomo is a community-driven, user-centered behaviour change engine for depression.
Tomo’s anonymous peer-support is what sits at the heart of the app. With every activity they log, users are asked to share a photo of their achievement with the community. Photos are anonymously sent to a few randomly chosen users, who are asked to verify the activity, and provide a few words of encouragement. We’re creating a community of people who are all going through the same struggle, and helping them help each other.
Why our solution is human-centered:
From the very beginning, Tomo was developed by, with, and for people affected by depression. We intentionally made Tomo flexible, so that we can localise it as simply as editing a word document. We intend to partner with local organisations to achieve this.
We see Tomo’s technology as a conduit for a community, not an end in itself. We believe mental health is a community issue as much as a personal issue.
As a piece of software, Tomo can leapfrog over traditional barriers of entry to mental health care, straight into populations outside the reach of mental health care.
How people will access our solution:
Tomo is currently an iOS app. The app itself is very light, and so will be ported to Android easily, and will run fine on low-cost handsets. We're also exploring other means of providing Tomo in the future.
We plan to market Tomo on a subscription basis. In order to make it accessible and affordable we are looking to organisations - first corporations, but also local authorities and healthcare providers, to buy licences on behalf of their employees/population/customers. We plan to use open market subscriptions and corporate wellness sales to subsidise lower subscription rates for those in need.
Technology-Readiness Level:6-8 (Demonstration)
Where we are located:United Kingdom
How we will sustain our team financially:
We have just closed a round of equity funding of £205,000 which is financing the development of the product and early testing. We plan to generate initial revenue by working with HR departments in corporations. We plan to offer Tomo as a corporate wellness solution which we will licence on a per user basis. We are currently in talks with three different corporations about licencing Tomo within 2017. These sales will come shortly after the end of our first pilot studies which start in August and September. This revenue will support the company while we undertake research to show we can replicate the impact of BA via the app. Armed with this research and the evidence that we can monetize the product we intend to raise further capital to market to more corporate clients and consumers in late 2018/early 2019.
The factors limiting our success:
Our solution is reliant on several factors to succeed:
1) Our ability to demonstrate through randomised control trial that we can replicate the impact of Behavioural Activation through an app alone.
2) The app's ability to retain users long enough for them to gain the benefits of behavioural activation.
3) Our ability to distribute the app in an effective manner to maintain and grow the company through corporate sales, and then through sales direct to consumers.
We are working to mitigate these factors through: pilot studies as a basis for RCT, agile development incorporating user feedback, and recruiting experienced salespeople.
How long we have been working on our solution:1 year
How long it will take to develop a pilot:We have already developed a pilot.
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:3-6 months
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
Tomo is a globally minded, community centered company. As we expand past our current horizons, we need expertise and advice that is both targeted to our needs, and aligned with our vision and mission: to globally democratise human potential.
Tomo approaches this by targeting mental health - a shackle on human potential that disproportionately affects those already left out of worldwide economic progress.
Solve approaches the same mission by catalyzing solutions that are truly global. Combined with the technological and academic rigor of MIT and the Solve community, we can test, scale, and hone Tomo exponentially faster than we could alone.
Our current partners:
London Southbank University
Activate Capital Start-up Lab
Oxford Investment Opportunity Network