Spotlight on: Tobias Fox and Edward Lynch
Medicine students Tobias Fox and Edward Lynch were awarded the Enterprise Fund to support their start-up Sophron. We caught up with them to find out how the funding has helped kick-start their business.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves:
My name is Tobias but everyone calls me Tobi. I’m 24 years old and I’m currently in my 5th year of studying medicine at the University of Liverpool. I always knew that I wanted to become a doctor at a very young age and so I’m loving every minute of my studies and the journey to making that become a reality. I really enjoy learning about philosophy and psychology and so naturally I have taken a liking to mental health as a field within medicine. I grew up with some family members who really struggled with their mental health and witnessed first-hand the degree to which it can impact every area of your life. Similarly, Ed has also come into contact with experiences highlighting the seriousness of the issue. We both felt that so much more could be done in helping people understand and look after their minds better and after much discussion we began to paint a vision of how we think we could help. From here we set up the company – Sophron in February 2019. Sophron is now on the mission to completely change the way that we look after our health in society. Our teachings are centered around the Biopsychosocial model for health which highlights that ‘real’ health is not just about looking after your physical health, but also your psychological and social health too. On top of that, our principles are focussed on health optimization so as to prevent illnesses before they arise in the first instance, and encouraging people, through innovative ways, to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Our slogan is ‘Live More’, which is what this represents.
We currently have several arms to the business and its all moving very quickly at the moment and is very exciting. At the moment, we are doing a lot of work in secondary schools in the Liverpool City Region, teaching positive psychology concepts to the students and helping the teachers to understand how they can integrate our teachings into the curriculum. We are also in the process of developing our corporate wellness programmes, to be delivered to local businesses in the Region; as well as developing our unprecedented digital platform – LifeLink. I can’t give away too much at the moment, but it is essentially a really clever piece of tech that gets you living a healthier lifestyle whilst also helping you save money at the same time!
You’ve been awarded the Enterprise Fund for your project Sophron. How will the funding help with your project
The £500 that we received from the Enterprise Fund was really helpful. As a start-up, you essentially have no money to begin with and so everything has to be self-funded or bootstrapped. The Enterprise Fund was a good help in hand and allowed us to take care of small businesses expenses in relation to travel, booking networking events, as well as producing small bits of marketing material; all deemed essential to our progression.
What other opportunities available at the University (competitions, funding opportunities) have you tapped into? How have these opportunities helped you progress?
In March 2019 we applied to be accepted onto the Emerge Programme run by Lab at Capacity through the aid of the University. We were lucky enough to be accepted onto the programme! The programme essentially as an incubator for start-ups looking to turn their ideas into products and take them to market. There were about 10 other businesses on the programme, all set up by University students. It was a pleasure to meet everyone there, and I will always remember the exciting entrepreneurial buzz during the weekly sessions. After this 10 week programme finished, we had grown our network of contacts immensely, and so this led onto us liasing with other businesses; talking about prospective partnerships and how we could help eachother. As standout contestant we were then referred to the LCR Activate Accelerator Programme, which we are currently still on, and are continuing to make very good inroads.
What does the future hold for yourselves and Sophron?
Our ambitions for Sophron are very big, but with hard work and persistence we have absolute faith that we will succeed in our mission. Our main focus at the moment is in developing our digital platform life-link as we believe that this product has the most potential for creating a positive impact to peoples’ lives. We are in talks with big investors at the moment, and are pushing hard to keep up the momentum with the work that we have achieved in such a short period time. The future is bright, and we’re absolutely looking forward to seeing how things unfold in this journey!
Finally, how can we find out more about Sophron?
Please follow us on Instagram and Twitter @sophronuk – we’ve got some exciting new content in store! You can also find out a bit about us through our website. It is still in the process of being developed, but nonetheless there is some good info on there – www.sophronuk.com
The Enterprise Fund supports students and recent gradautes with entreprenuship ideas. Applications are open now - to apply and find out more, click here.