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Interview with Co-Founder of Selfily: Damla Khan

StartIn: Hello Damla! Please give a three sentence overview about your start-up!

Damla: Selfily is an AI-powered digital self-care tool helping people better manage their long-term conditions in 3 ways: 1. condition tracking by collecting patient reported outcomes 2. Personalized self-care advice that provides recommendations to improve health outcomes (including patiently friendly educational videos, trigger alerts prompting a visit to the doctor); and 3. Community support with peers sharing experiences in a controlled setting.

Damla Khan, Co-Founder Selfily

StartIn: Where, when, what did you study?

Damla: I have a PhD in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine from Cardiff University (2015) and will complete my MBA at Imperial College Business School in December this year.

StartIn: After you had the idea, what was your first step in making it reality? Did you start with a prototype straight away?

Damla: Our founding team met during the MBA program at Imperial College Business School and our passion for social innovation brought us together. Selfily was born from the frustrations faced by patients suffering from long term conditions (LTCs) and lack of self-care tools. We developed Selfily as part of the 6-month Entrepreneurial Journey elective at the Business School. We won the top prize at the competitive end of year pitch challenge and Dean’s Fund. We then used the prize money to develop our prototype data collector website.

StartIn: What resources were the difficult ones for you for building the MVP? Team, money, time, motivation…?

Damla: Our CTO Harper Liang is a highly experienced Software Development and Product Manager who was able to oversee the development of our prototype by the Software Contractors we hired. Our biggest difficulty was the financing needed to develop our prototype.

StartIn: When you had an MVP, did you test it with your target group? How?

Damla: We are at a very early stage of collecting data and testing with a small focus group. We will distribute the prototype web app link to the focus group and ask them to follow the instructions and input data on a weekly basis. We will then process the feedback and conduct 1:1 customer interviews with selected individuals.

StartIn: What were your biggest learnings when you finished your first prototype?

Damla: Development is still on going. The biggest learnings so far were how to design the data model with proof of future in mind.

StartIn: What are your next steps at Selfily?

Damla: We have been awarded an Innovate UK grant which we will use to further develop and test our product. We have a busy first half of the year, with plans to release our Beta product in May and launch Selfily on to the market. Simultaneously, we are looking to raise seed funding.

StartIn: Many thanks your time and sharing your insights!