We talked to Manuel Kraus, founder and CEO at Pocketcoach, about remote personal training for mental wellness, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manuel Kraus: They’re all good, thankfully. Thank you for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Pocketcoach.
Manuel Kraus: I originally had a business background but then went into psychology because I’m truly interested in helping people be happier and have more fulfilled lives. That’s also what motivated me to leave 7Mind, the largest German meditation app, and start my own business a couple of years ago.
How does Pocketcoach innovate?
Manuel Kraus: Pocketcoach is a chatbot app that functions as a fully-automated digital therapist for anxiety. The app guides its users through 6-week-long therapy programs which follow proven treatment protocols and continuously adapt the input to users’ needs.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Manuel Kraus: We’re in a typical startup situation, and funding is always an issue. However, I don’t think the pandemic has had much of an impact on this part of our business.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Manuel Kraus: Yes, indeed, we had difficult choices to make. My key learning here is that the most important thing is to transparently and clearly communicate how the company’s doing and what our strategy is. If you have to let people go, people will understand why.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Manuel Kraus: A big part of our business is building trust with our customers. We’re a mental health app, after all, and trust is key. So instead of using specific tools for this, we need to show that we are trustworthy in everything we do. That starts with the content we create (we have a scientific advisory board and a team of psychologists working on our therapy programs) and extends all the way to the way we deal with data and privacy.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Manuel Kraus: Yes, we received a government grant two years ago. This money has since run out, but it was important to get us off the ground.
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