The award-winning health and wellbeing start-up Kaido begins an exciting year by taking its innovative digital offering to market
Health is on everyone’s mind right now. At a personal level, with a new year come lots of promises to get healthier, fitter. On the national scene, the over-stretched NHS is always in the headlines. Health is also the focus of entrepreneur Richard Westman – only he has a very different take on how to make us all feel better. And he’s turning it into an exciting and unique business proposition.
Richard (on the right in the image above) is the founder of Kaido, a digital health and well-being platform which promotes learning and best practice. By using smart technology the Innovation Birmingham Campus-based start-up accesses world-leading expertise to empower individuals and communities to make educated lifestyle choices. Which in short means giving everyone the tools to get healthier, fitter, more efficient and generally feel better about themselves.
At the start of an exciting year, Kaido is about to go to market selling digital packages to corporates to improve the health of their workforces and to health care and pharmaceutical companies. “The packages are a web-based solution which allows companies to set health challenges to their staff. The aim would be for individuals to take responsibility for improving their health, which in turn of course increases efficiency for the business and retention of staff, because they feel happier and better at work,” explained Richard.
Solihull-born Richard opted to start the business after spending eight years working with elite sportsmen and women at the highest level as an exercise physiologist. Still only 24, he has worked at Leicester Tigers and Worcester Warriors rugby clubs as well as the Lawn Tennis Association. “I got to the point that I felt I wanted to develop from the day-to-day routine of professional clubs and set myself a new challenge,” he said.
Richard met and formed a working relationship with a number of other like-minded sports health experts (a physical fitness specialist at Manchester City FC, sports nutritionist/sports psychologist from British Gymnastics, St Mary’s University, Twickenham and English Institute of Sport). “Then after a meeting with one of the parents of a lad at Worcester Warriors, who had his own IT business, I decided to go for it.”
Kaido has since been winning plenty of accolades and awards. It successfully secured £50,000 of investment from Creative England’s Interactive Health Care Programme to market-test and accelerate the launch of the new online platform. A further £50,000 was awarded from the SME Innovation Fund – a joint venture set up by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network and Mercia Fund Management. Last month, Kaido was crowned one of only seven winners at the EIT Health UK-Ireland Headstart/Proof-of-Concept Awards. The prize carried a further £50,000 of funding.
Kaido has also become a UK-managed partner of global tech giant Microsoft – one of only four UK start-ups to take part in the IoT & Data Innovation Programme which provides free training, networking opportunities and coaching to promising UK start-ups and innovators. It has been working with Microsoft to develop an artificial intelligence ‘health-bot’.
The company is one of 20 start-ups currently on Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip Smart City Incubator, a programme which co-locates promising start-up businesses with large commercial partners at its new iCentrum building.
Richard said: “2016 was a very exciting year for Kaido. We have the ideal foundations and support services in place to grow into the national and international marketspace. In a society where time and resources are becoming increasingly scarce, Kaido believes people need to be encouraged and enabled to take responsibility for their own wellbeing. This starts with the interaction and daily motivation to make a positive change, and ends with a user sharing their knowledge to promote opportunity and help others start their own personal journey.”